Tag: Rocket

‘Self-eating rocket’ tech snags funding from UK government

The U.K. government aims to spur the development of rockets that gobble themselves up on the way to orbit.

a field of grass: Artist's illustration of the planned spaceport in Sutherland, Scotland, that will be used for vertically launched rockets. Some of those rockets may consume themselves as they fly, if development of a "self-eating" rocket engine goes well.

© Provided by Space
Artist’s illustration of the planned spaceport in Sutherland, Scotland, that will be used for vertically launched rockets. Some of those rockets may consume themselves as they fly, if development of a “self-eating” rocket engine goes well.

The Ministry of Defence’s Defence & Security Accelerator (DASA) has pledged £90,000 — about $117,000 USD at current exchange rates — for the continued development of the “autophage” rocket engine, which is being built by researchers at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.


Load Error

The tech is a great fit for small rockets “because scaling down a rocket reduces the mass of the propellant more than it reduces the mass of all the other components, including the tanks that hold the propellant itself,” Patrick Harkness, of the University of Glasgow’s James Watt School of Engineering, said in a statement.

“The autophage concept is simple: burn the tanks as well,” Harkess said. “That saves the excess mass, and it means that we can miniaturize the vehicle without hitting this wall.”

Related: The history of rockets

The Glasgow team has already test-fired a version of the autophage engine that burns all-solid propellant. The DASA money will help fund research into the use of a more energy-rich hybrid propellant, team members said.

“The body of a hybrid autophage rocket will be a tube of solid fuel, containing a liquid oxidizer,” Harkess said. “The entire assembly will be consumed, from the bottom up, by an engine which will vaporize the fuel tube, add the oxidizer and burn the mixture to create thrust. The engine will have consumed the entire body of the rocket by the time the assembly reaches orbit, and only the payload will be left. It is a much more mass-efficient process.”

The hybrid engine will be test-fired next year, at Kingston University in London, if all goes according to plan.

Over the longer term, the new engine tech could help the United Kingdom claim a sizeable chunk of the growing small-satellite launch market, team members said in the statement. Two of the biggest players in this space at the moment are American companies — Rocket Lab, which provides dedicated rides to orbit with its Electron booster, and SpaceX, which increasingly hosts small payloads as “rideshares” on its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket.

“The U.K. has a strategic aim to secure 10% of the worldwide space industry by 2030, and we believe that our autophage engine is uniquely well-placed to help deliver on that ambition,” Harkness said. “We’re looking forward to continuing our work to develop the engine and help the U.K. find its place in space.”

Mike Wall is the author of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook. 

Continue Reading
Continue reading

Rocket Pharmaceuticals Announces Two Presentations at the European Society for Immunodeficiencies 2020 Meeting

Rocket Pharmaceuticals Announces Two Presentations at the European Society for Immunodeficiencies 2020 Meeting

–Oral Presentation to Provide Update on Phase 1/2 Clinical Trial Data of RP-L201 for Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency-I–

–Poster Presentation to Highlight Preclinical Data on RP-L401 for Infantile Malignant Osteopetrosis–

Rocket Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: RCKT) (“Rocket”), a clinical-stage company advancing an integrated and sustainable pipeline of genetic therapies for rare childhood disorders, today announces two presentations at the European Society for Immunodeficiencies (ESID) 2020 Meeting to be held virtually October 14-17, 2020. An oral presentation will provide an update on data from the Phase 1/2 clinical trial of RP-L201 for Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency-I (LAD-I). An e-poster will highlight preclinical study data on RP-L401 for Infantile Malignant Osteopetrosis (IMO).

Additional presentation details can be found below:

Oral Presentation

Title: A Phase 1/2 Study of Lentiviral-Mediated Ex-Vivo Gene Therapy for Pediatric Patients with Severe Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency-I (LAD-I): Results from Phase 1

Session Title:

Presenter: Donald B. Kohn, M.D., Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, Pediatrics (Hematology/Oncology), Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, and member of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of California, Los Angeles

Session Date: Friday, October 16, 2020

Session Time: 10:45 a.m. – 12:01 p.m. CEST

Lecture Time: 11:45 a.m. CEST

Location: Hall D

This session will be followed by a Q&A from 12:01 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. CEST


Title: Preclinical Efficacy and Safety of EFS.HTCIRG1-LV Supports IMO Gene Therapy Clinical Trial Initiation

Presenter: Ilana Moscatelli, Ph.D., Associate Researcher, Division of Molecular Medicine and Gene Therapy, Lund University, Sweden

About Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency-I

Severe Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency-I (LAD-I) is a rare, autosomal recessive pediatric disease caused by mutations in the ITGB2 gene encoding for the beta-2 integrin component CD18. CD18 is a key protein that facilitates leukocyte adhesion and extravasation from blood vessels to combat infections. As a result, children with severe LAD-I (less than 2% normal expression) are often affected immediately after birth. During infancy, they suffer from recurrent life-threatening bacterial and fungal infections that respond poorly to antibiotics and require frequent hospitalizations. Children who survive infancy experience recurrent severe infections including pneumonia, gingival ulcers, necrotic skin ulcers, and septicemia. Without a successful bone marrow transplant, mortality in patients with severe LAD-I is 60-75% prior to the age of 2 and survival beyond the age of 5 is uncommon. There is a high unmet medical need for patients with severe LAD-I.

Rocket’s LAD-I research is made possible by a grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (Grant Number CLIN2-11480). The contents of this press release are solely the responsibility of Rocket and do not necessarily represent the official views of CIRM or any other Agency of the State of California.

About Infantile Malignant Osteopetrosis

Infantile Malignant Osteopetrosis (IMO) is a rare, severe autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the TCIRG1 gene, which is critical for the process of bone resorption. Mutations in TCIRG1 interfere with the function of osteoclasts, cells which

Continue reading