Pressure Worx delivers Exhaust Condenser for Rocket Lab

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As one of New Zealand’s most high profile and exciting businesses, Rocket Lab leads the way on the world stage.  Electron, the Global Leader’s launch vessel regularly delivers satellites into orbit.  Rocket Lab engaged Pressure Worx to provide expert design and supply equipment for their rocket test facility in New Zealand. “The initial contract was for a Rocket Exhaust Condenser”, said Steve Rowntree, Managing Director for Pressure Worx. “Effectively the condenser worked like an energy or condensate recovery heat exchanger.  It cools and condenses water vapour from the exhaust stream during testing of the rocket engines in the test facility”

Our thermal design team analysed the rocket exhaust process data and then designed a specialty heat exchanger to meet the Rocket Lab design brief.  As result, Pressure Worx specially developed a number of notable features for the exhaust condenser.  We included a condensate impingement separator and collection sump within the exhaust outlet bonnet.  “We had to analyse over 29 different and complex rocket operating cases to come up with a heat exchange solution that would meet all of them”, said Rowntree.

Exhaust Condenser for Rocket Lab

Exhaust gas from the rocket enters the stainless flange at the right of the exhaust condenser

Following the successful design and delivery of the Rocket Exhaust Condenser, Rocket Lab asked us to design and supply a Spray Chamber Vessel, also fitted to the exhaust.  This vessel saturates the exhaust and cools the stream prior to the rocket exhaust condenser.  Furthermore, it works under vacuum and was fabricated entirely from stainless steel.

“We loved working with the engineers from Rocket Lab and its awesome to be involved in just a small way with helping develop their test facility to enhance their rocket performance for future missions into space. They are an innovative and exciting company, proud of their New Zealand origin”.


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