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Trondheim-headquartered Orbital Machines, an inventor of a standardized electric propellant pump for space launch vehicles, said it was planning to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs to raise 1 million euros become the leading supplier of electric turbopumps in the small satellite launch sector.

Orbital Machines said it has also signed up its first commercial customer, French firm Venture Orbital Systems to to develop a propellant pump for its nano-launcher Zephyr, with the first project phase underway since January 2021.

“This electric propellant pump will be part of our suborbital launcher which is scheduled to launch in 2023, and further our orbital launcher, Zephyr, scheduled for 2024. As we will have to develop and integrate numerous engines per year, Orbital Machines will be a crucial part of our objective,” said CEO Stanislas Maximin from Venture Orbital Systems.

An orbital space launch vehicle contains more than 90% fuel and oxidizer, which is burned off in just a couple of minutes. This requires a very powerful and light pump, where a gas turbine has been the most feasible option until recently. However, due to rapid improvements in battery technology and electric motors in the last years, electric propellant pumps are now a viable solution for several space applications including nano-launchers. Electric propellant pumps are more flexible, more affordable, and inherently safer. Most importantly, the technology can be standardized and easily adapted to new rocket engines, creating a huge commercialization opportunity.

Orbital Machines specializes in electric propellant pumps for small satellite launchers, a newly viable alternative to the traditional gas turbopump.

Orbital Machines aims at using the technology’s standardization abilities to effectively supply the small
launcher industry, a market that has skyrocketed due to the growing demand for launching small satellites into orbit. Orbital Machines spins out of Copenhagen Suborbitals, the world’s only manned amateur space program.

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Photo of SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch by SpaceX on Unsplash

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