HyImpulse hybrid rocket motor roars to life for the first time

VALLETTA, Malta — Launch startup HyImpulse successfully tested its 16,800-pounds-force hybrid rocket motor this month at German space agency DLR’s Lampoldshausen facility.

Headquartered in Neuenstadt am Kocher, Germany, HyImpulse is developing its three-stage SL1 launch vehicle designed to carry payloads of up to 500 kilogram to Sun-synchronous orbit. The light-lift launch vehicle will be powered by twelve 16,800-pounds-force hybrid rocket motors — eight on its first stage, and four on its second stage — plus four smaller but otherwise identical engines powering its third stage.

The HyImpulse-developed hybrid rocket motor is powered by a paraffin-based fuel and liquid oxygen. The motor is designed to make use of simpler hardware than a liquid-fueled system while offering greater safety than strictly solid-fueled motors.

HyImpulse said that the Sept. 15 hot-fire test, its first, confirmed that the paraffin/LOX hybrid rocket engine performed on par with liquid hydrocarbon-based fuels. This performance was achieved utilizing

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