Introducing Scimitar

I’m often reminded of an inspirational quote from a truly great self-made man:

“I’m on to the next one
On to the next one
On to the next one
On to the next one
On to the next one
On to the next one
On to the next one
Hold up, freeze
Somebody bring me back some money please.”

Just like Jay-Z, we at Masten are progressing quickly with Xaero B, and we couldn’t be more excited. Xaero B is better in many ways, and I want to take a few minutes to explain some of the details behind the new and improved powerplant that will carry her to new heights.

Masten Space Systems Scimitar Propulsion

The Scimitar engine firing near full throttle during a test run.

Masten is known for using lightweight all-aluminum engines, but now we’ve upped the stakes – and the thrust. The Scimitar engine is designed to push 1200 lbf on Xaero-B, giving it a bare-engine thrust-to-weight ratio of 133:1 and an engine-module thrust-to-weight ratio of 40:1. Our engines are designed using a proprietary heat transfer analysis tool, helping us choose cooling groove geometries that provide sufficient heat transfer and minimal pressure losses, maximizing both thrust and specific impulse (the Scimitar engine boasts an impressive Isp efficiency of 94%).

“Thrust is great for take-off”, I’m sure you’re saying, “but how do you land?” Deep throttling engines. We’ve increased our throttle ratio from 7:1 for the Hatchet class to over 10:1 for the Scimitar – we’ve run it as low as 110 lbf during static ground testing without chugging or engine flameout.

Speaking of flameout, I’m sure you’ve heard of engine-out capability, but we here at Masten have a different take on it: engine-out-but-then-it-relights capability. Our igniters have hundreds of successful starts, and we’ve cut the risk by providing dual igniters for redundancy. Additional re-start redundancy makes us far more comfortable with aggressive flight profiles that involve long engine-off coast phases to maximize altitude and minimize fuel usage. And the two igniters on board won’t just be any old igniter either – we’ve built a more compact, more efficient spark exciter that has proven it can ignite in even the most adverse of test conditions. It’s something we’re quite proud of and will be featured in its own future post, so stay tuned.

Rounding out the improvements, we’ve given the Scimitar engine a custom paint job. Because everyone knows flames and racing stripes improve performance. It’s science.

It’s science.

And in line with the Jay-Z quote above, let us know if you’ve got any money for us.

Propulsion team, out.