Home / Tech News / Launch startup Skyrora successfully tests 3D-printed rocket engines powered by plastic waste

Launch startup Skyrora successfully tests 3D-printed rocket engines powered by plastic waste


Launch startup Skyrora successfully tests 3D-printed rocket engines powered by plastic waste – TechCrunch

Rocket launch startup Skyrora, an Edinburg-based company that’s developing a new launch vehicle for small satellites, has successfully tested its new rocket engines in their first stationary ground-firings, a huge step on the way towards developing their launch vehicle. Skyrora’s rocket engines are novel not only in their use of 3D printing, but also because the fuel that powers them is developed from plastic waste – a new type of fuel called ‘Ecosene’ that the startup says makes its launch vehicles greener and more ecologically sound than the competition.

The rocket engine that Skyrora is testing will eventually power the final stage of its 22-meter (72-foot) Skyrora XL launch vehicle (closer to Rocket Lab’s Electron at 57 feet than SpaceX’s Falcon 9 at 229 feet), which will be capable of delivering multiple payloads to separate orbits ranging up to 500 km (310 miles) above Earth, popular low-Earth orbit target range for small satellite payloads. Skyrora fired the engines both with its ‘Ecosene,’ which is its kerosene directed from waste plastics using a proprietary process, and with traditional kerosene RP-1 rocket fuel, giving the company the opportunity to compare the two fuel sources in terms of performance.

Skyrora says it can create around 600 kg (1,300 lbs) of kerosene form 1,000 kg (2,200 lbs) of waste plastic, and that its fuel results in around 45% less greenhouse gas emissions. The Ecosene also has the advantage of not requiring cryogenic freezing, and being able to be stored in tanks idea for long periods of time, something that the startup says helps it work particularly well for launch conditions from the Scottish spaceport from which the company plans to launch.

Ultimately, this is just one test on the path to validation and eventual launch, but Skyrora is encouraged by the results of this test, and plans to fly its first Skyrora XL vehicles from its UK-based launch site starting in 2022.

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case for cooperative tech startups”,”content”:{“rendered”:”

When Uber and Lyft went public, it wasn’t the drivers who got rich u2014 it was the executives, investors and some early employees. In an era when it has become clear that tech executives and investors are frequently the only ones who’ll reap rewards for a company’s success, cooperative startups are getting more attention.n

Depending on how it’s set up, a cooperative model offers workers and users true ownership and control in a company; any profits that are generated are returned to the members or reinvested in the company.n

Co-ops aren’t new: The nation’s longest-running example is The Philadelphia Contributionship, a mutually owned insurance company founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1752. In 1895, the International Co-operative Alliance formed to serve as a way to unite cooperatives across the world. Some colleges have student-run housing co-ops where cleaning, food preparation and other responsibilities are shared. Today, there are many well-known large-scale co-ops, including outdoor recreation store REI, Arizmendi Bakery in San Francisco and Blue Diamond Growers, one of the world’s largest tree-nut processors.n

What’s novel, however, is applying the co-op model to technology startups. Start.coop, an accelerator for cooperative startups, is just one group trying to facilitate that practice.



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