Flight of the Aerospike: Episode 1


Hi, I’m Liz from ARCA Space Corporation,
and today we’re introducing a new weekly series about what it takes to fly an aerospike. The aerospike is a type of rocket engine that
maintains its efficiency from ground level all the way to space. This makes it ideal for rockets that need
to reach space in only one stage. The aerospike is one of the defining
features of ARCA’s Haas 2CA rocket. In our case, a linear aerospike. Other variants of this rocket engine have
been extensively tested by NASA and Rocketdyne over the last 50 years. But an actual space flight with this type
of rocket engine has never been performed. So, in order to increase the flight readiness
level of the Haas 2CA rocket, we are going to launch in space the aerospike rocket
engine using the Demonstrator 3 rocket. This rocket continues the tradition
of ARCA’s Demonstrator rockets. It’s going to fly suborbital,
which means it’s going to fly to space but it’s not going to place itself into orbit. Our goal is to launch from Spaceport America
in just 2 months. If successful, this will be the first linear
aerospike engine to be tested in flight, as well as the first one to go to space. Over the course of this series, we will be
documenting what it takes to make this happen. We are preparing here the hydrogen
peroxide tank enclosure positive mold for the Demonstrator 3 rocket. And we are going to cast the negative mold
– the composites negative mold on top of the positive mold in the next hour or so. Okay, so right now, what we’re doing is putting fiberglass over our positive mold
to create a negative mold. This is the first layer and so we have about
another one to go. Right now I am, I guess, removing the foil
from the negative mold that we just cast yesterday. It’s a little difficult, but it’s coming off. I’m working on some of the avionics for the
Demonstrator 3 rocket. We’re going to have an array of sensors for
measurements including temperature, pressure, acceleration, speed, altitude. And it’s all going to be collected by our
data acquisition system, which will be hooked up to our telemetry system that sends
the information from the rocket to our ground control station. We will also have this infrared camera
onboard the rocket to take a look at the aerospike engine jet stream as it flies in vacuum.


51 Responses

  1. Chu Bumpy

    June 16, 2017 2:00 pm

    Be like Conrad Haas:
    It says In the last paragraph of his chapter on the military use of rockets, he wrote (translated):
    "But my advice is for more peace and no war, leaving the rifles calmly in storage, so the bullet is not fired, the gunpowder is not burned or wet, so the prince keeps his money, the arsenal master his life; that is the advice Conrad Haas gives."

  2. Chu Bumpy

    June 16, 2017 2:00 pm

    First thing, dude using that saw on the fiberglass without a dust mask on is looking at a rough time on his lungs if he doesn't wear proper PPE.

    Be like Conrad Haas:
    It says In the last paragraph of his chapter on the military use of rockets, he wrote (translated):
    "But my advice is for more peace and no war, leaving the rifles calmly in storage, so the bullet is not fired, the gunpowder is not burned or wet, so the prince keeps his money, the arsenal master his life; that is the advice Conrad Haas gives."
    That's why I don't understand why you're pandering to the US DOD…. seems kind of outside the spirit of the name "Conrad Haas" now doesn't it?

  3. Alex M

    June 17, 2017 11:23 am

    Finally someone is going back to the linear-aerospike. As someone who is trying to build a diy L-aerospike for a hybrid test stand, I cant wait for the episode this comes up. Wish you guys all the best.

  4. Mikhail Shtutman

    June 21, 2017 10:18 pm

    The guy is assembling rocket avionics out of raspberry pi and Sparkfun breakout boards:) It looks like a tv-show rather then rocket science…

  5. Adam -亚当-

    June 26, 2017 7:21 am

    OMG You guys are amazing!! Such a human feel to this, really hope there is some way I can support… any ARCA T shirts i can buy? 😛

  6. Tim Lipinski

    July 6, 2017 1:28 am

    Safety First ! Who was breathing the Fiberglass dust when cutting the Fiberglass ? Remember your Filter Mask (HEPA Filter?) and Safety Glasses or the EPA may pay a visit… The EPA will fine for less, but will not accept a fine when they pollute a river in New Mexico ! Are you working in a Clean Room (invented in NM) building ? New Mexico the rocket friendly state ! tjl

  7. Leo Curious

    July 9, 2017 1:49 pm

    So… what is the actuall aerospike engine made of?
    What we see in that video is just a wood model?!

    U want to fly it in 2 months…. i dont think so.

  8. RoboTekno

    September 9, 2017 7:13 pm

    Are those molds for a mockup or the actual flight ready rocket? The molds look kinda sketchy and probably filled with defects from the Aluminum tape, especially for an 'aerospace' grade fuel tank. You should really be using a silky smooth epoxy or machined metal finish on those :-

  9. Артур Файзуллин

    October 10, 2017 11:44 am

    What a girl Elizabeth Vera is! She's got so beautiful eyes! I've felt in love with them! Tell her 😉

  10. Артур Файзуллин

    October 10, 2017 11:57 am

    What if to use like this design https://jim-cantrell.squarespace.com/blog/2016/11/8/failure-is-the-seed-of-growth-for-success-lessons-learned-from-developing-and-testing-aerospike-rocket-engines for toroidal aerospike engine? That design also allows to control thrust direction.

  11. Pumpkinhead1986

    October 16, 2017 10:12 pm

    So how this empty rocket shell flying ? I watch all your episodes and only see a loot of fiberglass parts for your rocket (even engine lol ??) some lipo batteries and working gyroscope . You have any proof for what you are doing it gonna work ?

  12. John Solo

    January 30, 2018 4:54 am

    Why does this seem like it's a kids' project for college students? None of this looks like a professional aerospace production. It's like if Mythbusters tried to build a spacecraft in their garage.

  13. Feb Vel

    February 25, 2018 11:09 am

    I love when the world is buzz with tons of alternative private space companies. Good luck Arca. looking forward to see your engine orbit the earth one day.

  14. pangrac1

    March 15, 2018 5:39 pm

    Use at least PP3 respirator mask for gringing and sanding and organic vapor grade carbon filters for glassing and work with resins! And nitril gloves. This is just basics.

  15. Ігор Возний

    March 30, 2018 12:27 pm

    Fuel liquid oxygen-kerosene?
    In Romania, such creativity is also severely restricted by bureaucrats..?
    🙂 the pad in which Peenemünde?

  16. Ігор Возний

    April 1, 2018 8:19 pm

    Saga with turbo pumps than ended?
    only pictures?
    Design Bureau Southern (Ukraine, Dnieper)
    have extensive experience in creating beautiful and inexpensive turbo pumps
    SSO without the turbo does, alas

  17. Jock Campbell

    September 26, 2018 5:59 am

    I strongly suspect all this being arrested and supreme court hearing story is bullcrap. In fact, the whole story from start to finish is buillcrap. The arrests story is mee stalling for time to keep people entertained.

    What you have built here are models of proposed rocket components, not actual test articles for genuine hot testing or flight. You're an accomplished model maker con aretist, that is all.

    If anyone really had the drive to make an aerospike work, they'd build a small one on a milling machine and test it in their garage with an oxy-acetylene set. That could be done for less than $1000 and you'd at least have a video of a tested article… and if the test included some load cells, you'd have numbers to analyse for computer modelling. Instead, you're playing with strips of fibreglass, cheap fibreboard and sheet aluminum bolted together with the cheapest DIY bolts all from Home Depot!!

    The finest engineering I've seen yet is a box-section frame welded together to resemble a test rig. Gimme a break! And what fuel could you possibly house in that tank? Propane?! I doubt it's even a bonafide pressure vessel! If so, ah well, at least you'll have a fine pillar of black smoke to watch rising into the sky once you light it!!

    I reckon that's about the only thing you'll ever produce that will fly… black smoke!

  18. xmotex

    October 15, 2018 12:30 am

    About 4:00 in, I notice MIchael Williams has a wall display of nicely built space & Trek models. I guess he found the right line of work.
    I'm excited to see that someone intends on continuing aerospike development towards an orbital launch system, keep it up.

  19. imoutodesho

    December 7, 2018 4:41 am

    Raspberry Pi is much much much much faster than Apollo Guidance Computer. Even a pocket calculator is better than Apollo.

  20. Frank Castle I The Punisher

    June 24, 2019 11:26 am

    wow youre diy ing the rocket itself not outsource it. it from fiberglass instead of carbonfiber?. hope the terrorist not getting into dat stuff coz the part is cots. n h2o2 fuel its not cheap but for overall cost it couldbe make sense or some sort keep goin dolar to power ratio

  21. Al T

    October 1, 2019 2:08 am

    Remember the good old days when we thought this was legit? R.I.P. You will be missed, legit-seeming ARCA now that we have seen what you really are!


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