Adam London - Ventions
For more up to date information on Ventions, check out their website.
Originally posted on the first SSI website in 2012:
On Tuesday December 4th, SSI was proud to host Adam London of Ventions, LLC for a presentation on their work to develop micro-thrusters through chemical etching and diffusion bonding. They hope to apply this technology to launch very small payloads into orbit, either as a second stage or as part of an air-launch system.
Due to the increase in computing power and the resulting decrease in necessary electronics for areas such as Guidance, Control and Navigation, modern rocketry is able to operate with lighter loads and smaller vehicles. Ventions specializes in creating micro-thrusters capable of 100 to 5000 lbs of thrust using LOX or hydrogen peroxide liquid fuels for these smaller rockets. The thrusters have a complex system of cooling channels to increase efficiency, which is only possible and economical on such a small scale because they chemical etching the sheets of metal. Ventions has tested multiple versions of their thrusters to determine proper mixtures, flow rates, pressures, and many other factors. In their early testing there were many frustrations, as many of their thrusters were troubled with pressure imbalances. However, after many iterations they have created a working thruster that is capable of a 45 second burn with a c-star efficiency around 98%, certainly suitable for placing their 2 kg rocket into LEO.
When asked how he has maintained a company around a product that takes so long to develop, Dr. London stressed two things. First, he pointed out the importance of iterative design and refining using testing and field set-ups rather than simply running computer simulations. Especially for something as complicated as rockets, the only way to work out the issues is by testing again and again and this has allowed them to make constant progress and impress their contractors. Dr. London also reiterated the importance of pursuing a project you are passionate about, because then you will do what it takes to make it work and be able to convince others of its importance.