VALLES MARINERIS TARGET LANDING SITE | +/-
PurposeMars DescentMars Ascent
VehicleMDVMAV
Units21
Designunpressurizedunpressurized
Weight Wet8000kg4500kg
Weight Dry900kg720kg
Engines9 Asterex9 Asterex
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UPDATE 2018-07-09 02:59:36.721000
The Explorers' Rocket Engine: Ready for Steel
Asterex CAD ready for 3D print in stainless steel. Thrust 5000 Newton (1125 lbf). Pressure 2.5 MPa. Expected combustion temperature 3000 Kelvin (2700 C).
Asterex CAD ready for 3D print in stainless steel. Thrust 5000 Newton (1125 lbf). Pressure 2.5 MPa. Expected combustion temperature 3000 Kelvin (2700 C).
6 months of intense work, finalized in one push of a button.
Oxidizer (nitric acid we made in the previous report) will be injected at the top. Fuel (furfuryl alcohol) at the bottom inlet. Controlled remotely, the (black) servo adjusts the fuel and oxidizer injector openings providing for throttability.
Oxidizer (nitric acid we made in the previous report) will be injected at the top. Fuel (furfuryl alcohol) at the bottom inlet. Controlled remotely, the (black) servo adjusts the fuel and oxidizer injector openings providing for throttability.
Pythomspace
The combustion temp of 2700 C is almost twice the melting temp of stainless steel (1500 C). Front image shows the engine without outer wall, exposing ridges dividing the inner shell into channels. These will guide fuel around the walls before combusting, thus cooling the structure.
The combustion temp of 2700 C is almost twice the melting temp of stainless steel (1500 C). Front image shows the engine without outer wall, exposing ridges dividing the inner shell into channels. These will guide fuel around the walls before combusting, thus cooling the structure.
Pythomspace
Component detail of injector and cooling ridges. The servo rotates the injector sleeve closing/opening the injector.
Component detail of injector and cooling ridges. The servo rotates the injector sleeve closing/opening the injector.
Component side view of cooling ridges (engine outer wall not showing) and injector package.  The "wings" will hold the the engine together with plumbing, tanks and later the body of the Mars ascent vehicle.
Component side view of cooling ridges (engine outer wall not showing) and injector package. The "wings" will hold the the engine together with plumbing, tanks and later the body of the Mars ascent vehicle.
Pythomspace
The pintle arrangement is robust and allows for high throttability, both important parameters for a Mars mission. A similar design was used by the Apollo moon lander in the 60's.
The pintle arrangement is robust and allows for high throttability, both important parameters for a Mars mission. A similar design was used by the Apollo moon lander in the 60's.
Pythomspace
The pintle, support and round pintle casing 3D printed in stainless steel. The threaded inlet to the left will be welded to the pintle casing.
The pintle, support and round pintle casing 3D printed in stainless steel. The threaded inlet to the left will be welded to the pintle casing.
Pythomspace
Pintle peeking out of the movable sleeve. As our fuel and oxidizer are hypergolic, exact gaps and sealing solutions are critical. Any minor leak would result in "spontaneous reaction" (big explosion).
Pintle peeking out of the movable sleeve. As our fuel and oxidizer are hypergolic, exact gaps and sealing solutions are critical. Any minor leak would result in "spontaneous reaction" (big explosion).
Pythomspace

"A long time ago, people who sacrificed their sleep, family, food, laughter and other pleasures of life were called Saints. Now, they are called engineers."

This makers' meme pretty much sums up our existence lately.

Our world celebrates summer. There are barbecues, fireworks, hanging with family and friends, vacation trips, swimming in lakes. Meanwhile, we've been in a dark forest, wrestling math, code and design challenges the size of Olympus Mons. No joy, no rest.

But three days ago, we finally arrived at our "real" MAV engine design. The one that will take our butts of Mars surface back to the Mothership. The one that ultimately our lives will depend on.

6 months of intense work, one last push of a button. Time to face the world.

Or rather, a vetting process including senior engineers from the traditional Space industry, as well as young talent from the fairly new world of additive manufacturing.

Learning from our polar expeditions, we knew that you can plan and calculate to the world's end; ultimately you'll have to run your setup with experienced folks and be prepared to face criticism if you really want to succeed.

You know; check with the Eskimos.

The verdict

We started with the Space engineers. On a scorching Saturday, out in the legendary Mojave desert, we showed them our design with trembling hands.

What they said:

“Oh, wow.”

Seriously. They did say that. Twice.

And then:

1. Regen cooling: Fix manifold, uneven flow, recalculate! 

2. Thicken around joints. 

3. Seals/O-rings - remember the SpaceX rocket that blew? - check they all come in materials compatible with our propellant.

Print maybe transparent first to check mechanics. Start crude, add complexity (print pintle in several version - one fixed/one movable - test, test), add body only when pintle proves to work.

Shuffling our feet into the desert, we went flying out of Mojave.

To the printers

Amundsen, Cook, Columbus and other successful explorers watched for and made use of new tech available at their time and so do we.

Rapid prototyping (CAD/CAM, additive manufacturing/3D print) brings possibilities to Space that weren't there only years ago.

Problem is now you must design not only for Space requirements but also for tool and material restrictions. Will the materials available for print hold up in required vacuum/heat/pressure? What is the print tolerance (how smooth will the surface get and how will it affect fluid and heat exchange)? How do you avoid support structures (design with angle restrictions) and keep costs down (printing within the standard printer box sizes)?

The printing specialists came back with a hefty price tag, but only a few small changes, all related to printer capacity.

Next up

Someone said that Mathematics is not about numbers, equations, computations, or algorithms: it is about understanding.

To understand the challenges of Space, we had to build the first engine ourselves. Now, so close to summit, we feel the fever. Will we survive, or will we burn. We're talking at least ten thousand USD blowing up in a puff of smoke if we don't get it right.

The final adjustments actually mean starting from scratch (version 7) but should be done in a week. Simultaneously we'll finish the plumbing architecture and decide on tanks. Give a few weeks for that.

A final piece of good news by the way: We have got a source for furfuryl. So won’t have to cook mountains of corncobs. Phew.

Previous report



+/-
Asterex Rocket Engine
Asterex Version2.0. Metal 3D print
Asterex2.0 with tanks and propellant feed system.
Asterex Version2.0. Close up of pintle injector
Asterex ColdFlow Rendering
Napkin Sketches
Asterex Cut CAD
Asterex Pintle
Asterex 3DPrint
Asterex Lightup
Asterex light
Endoscope test
Cut text
Apollo patent 3D convert
Ancestry Composition Chromosome Painting
BiometTomTina
W kg8159
BPM6463
Sys112120
Dia7977
SpO2 %9898
Resp bpm--
Body T C37.137.0
REPORTS
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UPDATE 17/04/2016
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Space stories pre 2014
Space ship
Jonathan Sensor Simulation. Runtime:
Humidity: offline
Sensor ID: S000000001
Temperature: offline
Sensor ID: S000000002
Pressure: offline
Sensor ID: S000000003
Pressure Airlock: offline
Sensor ID: S000000019
O2: offline
Sensor ID: S000000022
O2: offline
Sensor ID: S000000024
EVA Suit 01
Humidity: offline
Sensor ID: S000000031
Temperature: offline
Sensor ID: S000000032
Pressure: offline
Sensor ID: S000000033
O2: offline
Sensor ID: S000000036
CO2: offline
Sensor ID: S000000037
Bio human 1
Pulse: offline
Sensor ID: S000000112
Respiratory: offline
Sensor ID: S000000113
SpO2: offline
Sensor ID: S000000114
Body temp: offline
Sensor ID: S000000115
Systolic: offline
Sensor ID: S000000116
Diastolic: offline
Sensor ID: S000000117
Bio human 2
Pulse: offline
Sensor ID: S000000212
Respiratory: offline
Sensor ID: S000000213
SpO2: offline
Sensor ID: S000000214
Body temp: offline
Sensor ID: S000000215
Systolic: offline
Sensor ID: S000000216
Diastolic: offline
Sensor ID: S000000217
WORK FLOW
vision approach proof-of-principle design prototype iteration iteration product
Asterex Rocket engine
MAV and MDV
Jonathan Sensor System
Spacecraft
Mars Expedition
Transportation/Launch Systems
Life Support Systems
RESOURCES
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