SKYRORA, the Edinburgh-based space launch company, has unveiled its newly built 3D printed rocket engine.

The ground-breaking 30 kilonewton (kN) liquid bi-propellant engine was assembled over a period of three months and was precision welded at Skyrora’s Scottish production facility.

The engine produces three-tonnes of thrust, which makes it one of the largest rocket engines to be developed in the UK.

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It has been constructed using additive manufacturing techniques and advanced materials. The method used to 3D print the engine was completed by “powder bed fusion”, where a laser is used to melt and fuse the metal powder together.

The firm said 3D printing was chosen by Skyrora as it increases the accuracy of the components, drastically reduces part count, decreases manufacturing complexity and reduces the cost of the engine build significantly.

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Final assembly and precision tungsten inert gas-welding was completed at Skyrora’s production facility in Loanhead, Midlothian. Testing starts this quarter.

Dr Jack-James Marlow, engineering manager at Skyrora, said: “This development places Skyrora as a leader in the European launch vehicle market. With our plans to start testing and then launch, 2020 is going to be an exciting year for us. We can’t wait to get started.”