Published: 3 June 2016
Nammo passes a new milestone after successfully conducting a full-scale test firing of the flight-weight hybrid rocket motor.

On Thursday 19th May, Nammo completed the first hot firing of the Flight-Weight Unitary Motor (FWUM) at its Green Propulsion test facility for rocket motors in Raufoss, Norway. 

The innovative design of this hybrid rocket motor, which is safe, controllable, low-cost and green, reflects the progress and superiority of Nammo’s hybrid rocket motor technology, and places Nammo as a global leader in this area.

Unlimited restarts
The test firing was a great success, as Onno Verberne, Vice President at Nammo Space and Offshore comments: “The test firing demonstrated – through a first firing and then shortly after, a second firing of the same motor – the re-start capability of Nammo’s hybrid technology at large scale”. During the first firing, the engine burned for the duration of 5 seconds, until it was terminated in a controlled manner by closing the main oxidizer valve.

2 hours and 35 minutes after the first pulse, the engine was restarted simply by opening the main oxidizer valve, and burned flawlessly for 10 more seconds. Ignition was performed by catalytic reaction of the oxidizer, which enables an unlimited number of restarts. During both pulses, the engine delivered stable high-performance combustion and a thrust level of 30 kN (3 tons).

Nammo’s next steps

The hybrid motor test fired now is built according to flight standards, meaning the FWUM is ready to be integrated with the fuel tanks and the payload into a complete rocket. The complete rocket – the Nucleus – is a scientific sounding rocket designed especially to demonstrate Nammo’s cutting-edge hybrid motor during a flight demonstration into space.

The FWUM is a 14 in (356 mm) hybrid motor with a full burn time capability of over 35 seconds. The complete Nucleus rocket will be approximately 9 m long, 800 kg in mass, and will reach space with a maximum altitude over 100 km.

In the coming weeks, Nammo will continue the hybrid test campaign, which will end when the full motor burn has been achieved repeatedly.

Cooperation with ESA

This project is being carried out under a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA), and with the support of the Norwegian Space Center (NRS).

Nammo’s work fits perfectly within ESA’s Future Launcher Preparatory Programme (FLPP) which is fostering promising new technologies for future European launchers and initiatives to include green propulsion solutions in their existing systems.