Firehawk Aerospace, a fast-growing rocket propulsion startup, closed a $2 million seed round to further evolve its unique rocket propulsion system – that makes intensive use of 3D printing technology. The round is led by members of the Victorum Capital Club and includes additional investments from Achieve Capital and Harlow Capital Management.
“Firehawk Aerospace has achieved a new level of performance for hybrid rocket engines through our patented 3D-printed rocket fuel,” said Will Edwards, Co-Founder and CEO. “Firehawk Aerospace will provide a safe, reliable, and affordable rocket engine to power the next-generation of satellite launchers, guided reconnaisance systems, lunar transport systems, and manned space systems.”
Firehawk Aerospace is providing customizable propulsion systems to make the future of space transportation safer and more accessible. The funds will be used to test Firehawk’s engine at an operational scale, grow its partnerships with leading government and commercial entities around the world, and expand its research and manufacturing facilities to Texas and Oklahoma.
Firehawk Aerospace was hand-picked among thousands of applicants to participate in Startup Battlefield, the world’s preeminent startup competition, at TechCrunch Disrupt 2020. The Company was selected as one of five finalists by a panel of judges including multiple venture capital and tech leaders.
“Firehawk Aerospace has developed a major advancement in rocket propulsion technology – providing a safer and more cost-effective solution than other high-performance rocket systems in use today,” said James Roller, Managing Partner of Victorum Capital. “We are excited to partner with Firehawk as they scale their technology and reshape the aerospace industry.”
Despite the use of the term ‘hybrid’, a hybrid rocket engine (HRE) is a distinct form of rocket engine that uses both solid and liquid propellants. ‘Liquid-Solid’ Rocket Engine or ‘L-SRE’ would be a more accurate term.
Classically designed HRE’s using a liquid oxidizer and a solid fuel operate more closely to a LRE than a solid rocker motor (SRM). In a SRM, oxidizer and fuel are intimately blended and formed into a propellant grain; whereas, a HRE fuel grain contains no oxidizer and the port(s) dually serves as the engine’s combustion chamber; and through a phase-change ablation process, the source of fuel.
A significant advantage of an HRE compared to other forms of chemical rockets is its immunity to accidental detonation. This immunity is achieved by the fact that the propellants are stored on-vehicle in two different states of matter; and thus, it is virtually impossible to create a detonable oxidizer/fuel mixture outside of the rocket engine’s fuel grain port(s) or combustion chamber(s).
In most designs, HRE propellant density is higher than most common liquid bi-propellant systems. Despite their enhanced safety and denser propellants, HRE is less developed and historically suffer from a range of performance disadvantages. Those performance disadvantages have been solved with Firehawk’s 3D printed rocket fuel, which enables building an engine with the safety of an HRE and the performance of a liquid bi-propellant engine.