SPL got a 50 k€ grant for a feasibility study for a green propellant engine (RCS and upper stage), called ECO-Thrust, from the European Commission EC (H2020 SME instrument phase 1). If done right, we could make it into phase 2 where things really begin to rock, but that’s whish-full thinking at the moment. Thanks to all people involved to made this happen! Special thanks to Evolution Europe in Spain who wrote most of the proposal. We archived 14.4 points out of 15 during the evaluation by the EC.
The engine is equipped with various ultra-fast piezoelectric quartz sensors (to sense normal pressure and combustion instabilities), a high temperature pressure sensor (which can withstand a temperature of over 800 °C!) and a 6 DOF dynamometer (Force in xyz and torque in xyz), all made by KISTLER ®.
Since about half a year SPL supports Swissloop on their work of their propulsion system. Last weekend of 22. July 2017 we pressure-tested the system. Pressure and leakage tests went well. The weekend of 29. July 2017 a full thrust test on one of our thrust test stands was conducted.
Catch the roll out live on their Facebook Stream from on Thursday 27.07.17 at 18:00 CEST! Today, they got the invitation from SpaceX to be part of the competition end of August!
Some media coverage of the roll out and the competition in California:
Blick, ETH-Studenten entwickeln den schnellsten Zug der Welt. Diese Schweizer begeistern den Tesla-Chef
The Swissloop team at the roll out 27. July 2017 in the ETH main building
Finally SPL’s logo appears on the pod 🙂 Thanks!
Test run of the rocket system [Update 29. July 2017]
Today we tested Swissloop’s rocket system (Leakage and pressure testing happened a week ago). No details form our side, because the results are proprietary. But we had a lot of fun!
Infrared picture from the ice cold tubes and nozzles afer the tests.
Sitting the guys from Swissloop: Chris Timperio, Manuel (?), Daniel Kaufmann Standing Hu. Ammann and Bruno Berger both SPL
A video of the pressure and thrust testing (Via Facebook) [Update 5. August 2017]
Competition Weekend II is scheduled for August 25-27, 2017, at SpaceX’s Hyperloop track in Hawthorne, CA [Update 28. August 2017]
Swissloop made it into the finale of 3 teams out of hundreds! This is a great achievement. Before you can run it in vacuum you have to pass many tests. Elon Musk was there too and gave them a high five:
The run itself went so so well. Their battery drained in the tunnel while waiting for vacuumization.
It was a great experience to work with you guys. Thanks and good luck with the next projects!
Swissloop is a team of 40 physics, mathematics, electrical-, mechanical- and civil engineering students at the ETH Zurich that is complemented by design and business students from Switzerland. Their objective is to design and build a prototype for this new kind of ground transportation: the Hyperloop. SpaceX, a private space company based in Hawthorne, California, is currently running a competition for universities around the world to design, build and race pod prototypes of the Hyperloop. The company has already built a 1.25km-long test track for this purpose. The competition is divided into three stages: two design stages, a preliminary draft design submitted in November 2016 and a detailed build-ready design to be submitted in February 2017. Swissloop’s objective is simple: build the fastest pod that has to successfully accelerate and decelerate within the limits of the test track in summer 2017.
Short summary: The engine ran on Ethanol/LOX, O/F about 1.95, thrust nearly a metric ton and we got a (measured!) ISP of about 232s at a chamber pressure of 21 bar… which is quite a good number! We pushed the chamber pressure further, but ended up with a molten nozzle (for optimizing combustion, short burning times are sufficient… so we only use mild steel nozzles at this state of the tests). More below… Continue reading →