Safe, low-cost and sustainable space flight
Orbspace develops the small rocket Infinity, which carries three passengers on a ballistic sub-orbital space flight to an altitude of 200 km and returns safely to Earth for a soft vertical landing. Being 100% reusable no space debris is created and using CO2-neutral biomethane, Infinity will be the benchmark for lowest cost as well as highest environmental sustainability.
But where Infinity stands out most from its competitors is its uncompromised safety. From the selection of propellants, the Launch Abort System or the rocket engine cluster, which enables safe flight and landing even with multiple engines out, for Infinity safety is not an option, it is an “all included”.
Moreover only a small spot of concrete or floating offshore platform is required for daily flight operations.
Versatility for multiple applications
Infinity is essentially a rocket drone and can be used for a number of other applications such as space debris clean-up or remote sensing. With upgraded rocket engines it can reach altitudes up to 800 km. These altitudes are most crowded not only by operational satellites but also space debris. Because Infinity is fully reusable, it enables space debris removal missions at lowest possible cost, not only for large but also the tens of thousands of smaller pieces of space junk.
Furthermore it can be used for remote sensing on demand at any time within minutes of notice, offering a visual range of more than 3000 km. When time is of the essence, Infinity has a cutting edge over satellites, which can take hours to arrive where they are needed.
Starting small • Growing big
Infinity is the smallest of all suborbital rockets, but it is designed to grow. Through daily flight operations Infinity will mature reusable rocket technologies and in the future enable daily flights to Earth orbit and beyond. Steady technological progress and optimization will solve the decades old obstacle for space development, by achieving truly low cost and safe daily human access to space.
Rocket systems engineering
our core competence!
Towards an era of space development by small businesses – A true market disruption!
Rockets are complex systems consisting of many components and technologies and requiring a wide range of skills and know-how from trajectory analysis, aerodynamics, thermal and structural design, propulsion analysis, electronics, control, etc. Combining all these skills is called systems engineering and we consider this our most outstanding key competence.
Today we are at a turning point! Technological progress makes it possible for small companies what in the past has only been possible for large corporations with 1000’s of engineers. The result is dramatically lower cost to design and build rockets. This is a truly disruptive game changer!
What has not changed is achieving highest reliability and safety. Our systems engineering capability combined with past experience in rocket development is an indispensable asset for that purpose that sets us apart from most of our competitors.
Tank-vehicle structural design
HyperMECH stands for Hypersonic Metal-Composite Hybrid vehicle-tank structure. High-temperature resistant metals are combined with other materials (hybrid) to create a reusable vehicle and tank structure, which can resist repeated hypersonic atmospheric re-entry loads. Yet more important, the design is damage tolerant, enables easy access for daily inspections, maintenance & repairs and resists rain, sand/dust and the hot rocket flames during landing.
HyperMECH structural design enables what no other rocket has achieved so far “easy daily operations”! It is a key enabler for reliable, safe and low-cost rocket operations.
Safety-critical onboard computer
To assure human safety
Our onboard computer is in fact three computers in one – that is called triple redundancy. And so are all flight critical components such as precision inertial measurement unit (IMU), GPS, power supply, etc. Off-the-shelf hardware components enable unrivaled computing performance at lowest weight, power consumption and heat dissipation. Multiple years of continuous in-house qualification testing assures utmost reliability and enables safety-critical applications.
The rocket propellant that grows in nature
Space exploration, rocket flight and environmental protection and sustainability do not need to be a contradiction! For this reason we chose biomethane because it is the most ecologic rocket propellant. It is naturally produced by bacteria – even in the human body. We not only achieve 100% sustainability and CO2-neutrality but the highly efficient combustion of bio-methane assures minimal exhaust emissions. That is why our rocket engines have nearly invisible flames and generate no polluting smoke trail.
Rocket engine cluster
Enabling safe flight and landing even multiple engines out
In our circular rocket cluster engine multiple thrust chambers share the work to generate the thrust. The principal benefits is safety and simplicity. Not one but even multiple chambers can be turned off in flight and the rocket can still continue its mission and land safely. Secondly, no engine gimbaling is required because all the rocket steering is achieved by differential thrust vectoring. That means the only moving parts of the entire propulsion system are the propellant valves! A reduced number of parts means increased safety and lower cost. In future upgrades a so-called aerospike nozzle will be added for increased performance.
Ceramic rocket engine
For ultimate rocket safety, because ceramics don’t melt
The combustion temperatures inside rocket engines are far beyond the melting temperatures of common metals and therefore require sophisticated cooling. We are developing a rocket engine made of a ceramic material, which does not melt. In case of over-heating no catastrophic failure occurs and the engine can be safely switched off in flight for later inspection and maintenance. Our rocket engine is one of the key elements to achieve truly safe human space flight.
Detonation wave ignition systems
Simple and ultra-precise ignition systems for safe synchronous rocket engine start-up
Precise and reliable ignition is an important element for reliable and safe rocket engines. Detonation wave ignition systems have have since long been successfully used for engine ignition. With a simple design and easy manufacturing requirements they are a perfect example of the Orbspace approach to rocket design, that means, achieving low cost and highest safety at the same time.
Qualification of novel steel alloys for high as well as low temperature rocket applications
Material research is making exciting progress in recent years and we are continuously on the watch to find and qualify new material developments for space and rocket applications. Some of these materials not only show outstanding strength, ductility and corrosion resistance at high as well as low (cryogenic) temperatures, but also enable cost efficient manufacturing, inspection and repair. Specialty material selection and qualification is a true enabler to achieve highest safety and low operational cost.