9/12/2018 | 1 MINUTE READ

GKN Aerospace to Additively Manufacture Rocket Engine Turbines

The company will develop and manufacture two full-scale turbines for the Prometheus re-usable rocket engine demonstrator.


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GKN Aerospace will develop and manufacture two full-scale turbines for the Prometheus low-cost re-usable rocket engine demonstrator on liquid oxygen and methane propellants. The turbines will generate power for the methane fuel system, with the first turbine to be delivered at the end of 2019. Manufacturing will take place in cooperation with partners and at GKN Aerospace’s highly automated engine systems center of excellence in Trollhättan, Sweden.

The new turbine is designed to support challenging load including very high pressure, high speed and high temperatures, incorporating additive manufacturing (AM) technologies to provide higher performance, lower lead times and significant cost reduction. According to GKN, this project will support the next step in AM, the use of this technology for future critical components requiring high pressure, temperature and rotational speed.

Sébastien Aknouche, vice president and general manager, services and special products Engine Systems says: “With the support of the Swedish National Space Agency, ESA and ArianeGroup we are proud to participate in the Prometheus project and to make a technological contribution to this key European space project. This allows us together with our suppliers, to work with our customer to develop and demonstrate advanced AM technologies in operation and at full scale. We look forward to demonstrate the benefits and the added value in weight and cost reduction, and in faster production rates. These factors, along with our established expertise in space turbines, have resulted in the award of this engine turbine contract.”

Prometheus is an ESA-funded program for a low-cost re-usable rocket engine demonstrator on methane propellant, with ArianeGroup as the prime contractor. GKN Aerospace’s space business unit, in Trollhättan, Sweden, has been active in the Ariane programme from its inception in 1974 until the current Ariane 6 partnership, and has made over 1,000 combustion chambers and nozzles as well as over 250 turbines for the Ariane rocket to date.