I'm reading about the unconventional technology of Zero2Infinity's balloon-launched Bloostar rocket. It looks a bit like a jellyfish shooting through the sky. But it's hard to find much information about it. Like the engines and the fuel.

I have a lot of questions, but I don't expect answers to all of them here. Instead, is there further available information about this project anywhere that would address questions like:

  • How are the tanks arranged in those rocket-propelled donuts? One turbopump feeding all the engines around the rim?
  • Why the space muffin design rather than a more conventional stacked rocket?
  • When are they launching, what is the estimated cost of a launch?
  • Do they have any contracts lined up yet?
  • Is anyone outside of the company backing it?
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    $\begingroup$ That's a lot of questions at the same time. $\endgroup$ – user2705196 Mar 30 '19 at 0:06
  • $\begingroup$ And all about a thing that doesn't even exist!? $\endgroup$ – user2705196 Mar 30 '19 at 0:06
  • $\begingroup$ @user2705196 it's more-or-less a real thing and there are smiling head-shots of young people with dedication and enthusiasm, so if only you would send them money... though there's not much in the how we do it section. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Mar 31 '19 at 1:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Greg I made an edit to your question to help it better fit the format of this site. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Mar 31 '19 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ They already want to talk to me about taking my project from lab to orbit. But companies have sold advance tickets for trips to space... It's probably too soon to be looking for the Haynes manual. $\endgroup$ – Greg Apr 1 '19 at 19:07

Well, this January 31, 2018 article provides a few things. Of course, I found it by accident and missed it when I was deliberately searching.

The Spanish IT company Indra will be working with Zero 2 Infinity. The Bloostar is designed to lift 75 kg to low earth orbit. They also said that Zero 2 Infinity has some balloon missions to take care of, and Bloostar will be put on the "backburner while revenue-generating services take priority."

That article referenced a March 14, 2017 article on the launch of a prototype firing a single engine, and the article mentions that Bloostar uses liquid oxygen and methane. As of that time they had not yet crossed the Karman line. Bloostar is also designed to be recoverable, and they recovered the prototype. Ultra Magic, a hot air balloon manufacturer, is an investor in Bloostar. As of March 14, 2017, they had planned to make their first commercial launch in 2019. So it probably won't happen this year, because space is ALWAYS harder than people think it is, even when they say yes, they know space is hard.

According to this March 28, 2018 article Zero 2 Infinity is getting 3D-printed combustion chambers for its Teide 1 engines from the Foundation for Aerospace Development (FADA). An Andalusion non-profit, curiously enough. The combustion chamber is for their Teide 1 engines, named after in inactive volcano in Spain's Canary Island archipelago. Six Teide 1 engines will be on the second stage and a single Teide 1 on the third stage. Each capable of 2 kilonewtons of thrust. So, tiny. Six larger Teide 2 engines are on the first stage, each providing 15 kilonewtons. Still small.

Working with CATEC, the company plans to apply artificial intelligence (AI) and neural networks to engineer more effectively cooled thrust chambers.

"Traditional rockets have had straight cooling channels because that's all that could be manufactured," Jose Mariano Lopez-Urdiales, founder and CEO of Zero 2 Infinity, said in a March 22 statement. “When you put a flashlight in your ear, you see a wonderful tree-like structure of blood vessels. We don’t have straight rows of blood vessels in our ears. 3D printing and AI now allow rockets to evolve, like nature.”

So that's more than I knew before. Some interesting stuff there.

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    $\begingroup$ There's now a PDF users manual on the site. It drops a few facts such as: The engines are pressure-fed so no turbopumps. Propellant mass fraction is ~0.83 TVC is by electrical actuators, the 3rd stage has a cold gas roll control thruster system. The tanks are crossfed (Interesting!) Isp is 345-355. There's quite a lot of info in here. Document is here: zero2infinity.space/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/… $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Apr 24 '19 at 20:43
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    $\begingroup$ The payload user's guide! Downloaded for my leisure-time reading. I'm just fascinated by the unconventional technology they have, I really hope it pays off for them. $\endgroup$ – Greg Apr 25 '19 at 18:30
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, it's pretty interesting. My gut says the tanks are just not big enough, but I haven't done the numbers. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Apr 25 '19 at 18:54
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    $\begingroup$ 10 bar chamber pressure, that's mild! No turbopumps, recovered components, doesn't need a spaceport or a rocket gantry, plus balloon missions are an independent source of revenue while providing some base technology... It's pretty low tech in a way, except for the control systems. I haven't seen pricing information, but I would think they'd beat Rocket Lab. If the payload is a cubesat dispenser, the cost per satellite should be quite agreeable. $\endgroup$ – Greg Apr 25 '19 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ Teide last erupted in 1909 — not sure if that counts as inactive. $\endgroup$ – gerrit Apr 29 '19 at 8:44

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