The following are examples of projects we have worked on or are on-going programs by Stellar Engines Ltd. They illustrate the diverse scientific capabilities of our team.
We have access to several in-house tools for addressing various problems such as the interaction of a laser with a plasma, or the propulsion of a spacecraft engine, or the hydrodynamic interaction of a shock. This includes:
- Fortran programming
- IDL visualisation
- Particle In Cell (PIC) code modelling
- Vlasov Solver Fokker-Planck code modelling
- AutoCAD technical drawing
- Systems (Satellite) Took Kit (STK) Analysis
- LaTeX word processing
- Microsoft word, excel, power point tools.
- Edraw Max flow diagrams, mind maps, systems diagrams and organisational charts
- Project management diagrams.
Vehicle Concept Design
We specialise in aerospace vehicle design and can produce concept designs with configuration layouts and supporting performance calculations. The example shown is for a subsonic tourist jet that we produced. We use the standard aerospace engineering practice of evolving a design concept from an initial requirement. Our work tends to be at the pre-integration system level.
Numerical Problem Solving
Our team can write physics and engineering codes for a wide suite of problems. Our primary code of choice is Fortran, but we can also use Matlab, C++ and Python script where required. We can produce a physics code to allow optimisation trade studies to inform your design solutions.
We work with the company Nebula Sciences Ltd to fly payloads to near space, in the upper stratosphere to typically 80,000 - 100,000 ft. We have already worked on one major project together which has seen five successful flights demonstrating the capability. Stellar Engines will advise on the payload designs and any science experiments that you would like to have flown at high altitude.
Commercial Launch Vehicles
We work with companies to help design the next generation of space launchers for accessing Earth orbit and beyond. This includes multi-stage motor rockets or Single Stage to Orbit Spaceplanes. Our overall philosophy is to bring down the cost of access to Earth orbit to around £1,000/kg. We can also acting in an advisory capacity to any companies that wish to embark on research relating to sub-orbital space tourism.
Sustainability & the Environment
We are developing an innovative experimental platform to facilitate high repetition experiments focussed on solving problems related to sustainability and the environment. This experiment is a table top platform and we are looking to build a prototype by the year 2020. This platform allows for the rapid experimentation of multiple technologies relating to the environment. In particular, one of our current projects is looking at more efficient biofuel generators.
Aerodynamics & Nozzle Theory
We have a speciality in the design of subsonic and supersonic engine nozzles for jets and rockets. All we need is your size constraints and fluid parameters (e.g. fluid velocity on exit) and we can design your nozzle for you and even get it manufactured using a high precision engineering workshop for which we have access.
Spacecraft Atmospheric Re-entry
We have experience in modelling thermal heat shield materials and we can perform experiments on your candidate heat shield to measure the thermal loading and specific heat capacity through the material thickness. Our team has previously had experience of modelling re-entry materials for a Mars missions.
Spacecraft Trajectory Modelling
We have access to numerical tools which allow us to model the trajectory of space vehicles moving in various Earth orbits, Cis-lunar space or on planetary missions. Whether you are planning a simple Hohmann transfer orbit, a gravity assist around the gas giants, or a complete escape trajectory out of our solar system, we have the tools to calculate these problems for you in order to work out the minimum energy trajectory.
Rocket Vehicle Design
We can design rockets of various types. Our own in-house program was focussed on a revised Skylark initiative and our vehicles were capable of reaching 100-150 km altitude carrying a payload of around 25 kg. Over several months we instigating a set of activities, including high level discussions with the Ministry of Defence, over the initiation of a Skylark successor program, which we called Starlark, to be launched from the North West of Scotland. Although the program did not take off, our extensive experience in looking at the problems, including business models, gave us useful insights which may aid any future sounding rocket programs.