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Stork Space test-fires engine for next-generation fully reusable rocket (photos)

Stork Space test-fires engine for next-generation fully reusable rocket (photos)


Stork Space has announced the first successful hot-fire test of an engine designed for its next-generation reusable rocket.

The Kent, Washington-based company tested a new full-flow staged combustion (FFSC) rocket engine on June 5 at its Moses Lake, Washington test range. Photos from the test show the engine kicking up a big plume of sand and rocks as it accelerated to half its maximum thrust.

Stork Space aims to use this new engine technology on its Nova rocket, a launch vehicle designed to be 100% reusable and able to launch, land, and launch again in just 24 hours. The company hopes Nova will be ready in time for an orbital test flight in 2025, Space News reports.

“We are incredibly proud of this achievement,” Stork Space CEO Andy Lapusa said in a statement. “Our team has worked tirelessly to bring this engine to life in record time. This successful test is a testament to their talent and dedication and brings us a major step closer to bringing the Nova launch vehicle to market. Nova is uniquely capable of providing commercial, civil and defense customers with access to, through and from space.”

Stork Space conducted a test of its thermal engine at its Moses Lake, Washington, test site on June 5. (Image courtesy of Stork Space)

Stork's Nova rocket is designed to have a 100% reusable payload fairing and to carry a heat shield with active cooling technology, according to the company's website. The heat shield is integrated with the engines, which run on liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. These design elements are intended to make Nova “damage tolerant” and reduce refurbishment time between launches, the company said.

Stork Space conducted a test of its thermal engine at its Moses Lake, Washington, test site on June 5. (Image courtesy of Stork Space)

In September 2023, Stork conducted a flight test of a prototype rocket called Hopper 2 to demonstrate its new propulsion and landing system. The company said the test provided a “vast amount of data” that will help it advance the development of reusable rockets.

Last year, Stork Space was one of four companies granted permission to use launch pads at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida as part of the U.S. Space Command's new Launch Pad Allocation Strategy (LPAS).

The Space Force hopes that opening up its launch pads to other companies will maximize launch capacity and help “ensure a strong space launch industrial base” in the United States.




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