With the 2023 rocket engine testing season opening in April 2023, NextAero started the year with some aerospike rocket nozzle testing engine testing.
As a simplified explanation, the aerospike is an inverted conventional bell rocket nozzle. Compared to conventional bell shaped rocket nozzles, the aerospike reduces pressure thrust loss when at high atmospheric pressures – such as when taking off from the launch pad.
The nozzle is uncooled and designed to provide 1-3s of thrust data before melting. Removing the cooling system simplifies the manufacturing and engineering required to iterate, which allows the NextAero team to work fast.
The propellants are LOX/ethanol producing approximately 80kg of thrust.