Reaction Dynamics: cost-effective rocket engine to make the launch of small satellite more affordable

01/10/2018 1761 views 4 likes
ESA / Applications / Telecommunications & Integrated Applications / Technology Transfer

Canadian start-up Reaction Dynamics aims at revolutionizing spaceflight with the development of specially adapted rockets and a cost-effective engine, making it affordable for companies and universities to launch small satellites into orbit. Meet Reaction Dynamics at ESA's Start-ups Zone powered by ESA space solutions at IAC 2018.

The start-up is pioneering the Canadian space industry by developing the first Canadian orbital launcher aiming to target the microsatellite market which is poised to grow to $62.2 billion over the next ten years.

Proprietary Hybrid Engine Technology

Featuring advanced proprietary fuels, Reaction Dynamics is pioneering a novel type of propulsion system based on its experimentally demonstrated rocket technology.

The company has developed a high density impulse fuel which is about 35% higher than what common RP-1/LOX {such as SpaceX, RocketLab etc..} uses for their current rockets.

Combined with metal additive manufacturing, this technology reduces vehicle part count from nearly 100,000 to under 1,000 components, reducing costs and production lead times. Due to its relative simplicity and reduced cost of development, its successful implementation could drastically affect space accessibility as the propulsion system is easily mass producible and safe to handle, without compromising performance or efficiency.

Furthermore, the use of metal additive manufacturing alleviates considerable issues associated with the design and fabrication of flight-weight engine components.

Cutting Edge Manufacturing

As the rocket’s part count is dramatically reduced, mass production and automation become highly viable strategies. Major components such as carbon composites structures can be manufactured using automated processes. The company has a fully scalable production strategy that includes a gradual automation capacity roll-out to achieve a production output greater than any other competitor.

In addition to orbital launchers, there are multiple other noteworthy commercial applications of the engine technology.

It could be used for Reaction Control System of spacecrafts as well as precise orbital insertion, orbital manoeuvring and/or de-orbiting of satellites.

Development Plan

The space missions Reaction Dynamics is targeting are the launches of microsatellites, 10 kg to 150 kg, starting as early as 2021. A launch vehicle capable of delivering a 150 kg satellite to a 500 km Sun-Synchronous Orbit is being developed, aiming for weekly flights with lead times not exceeding 3 months.

Reaction Dynamics development plan is structured in 4 phases:

  • Phase 1: Engine Development (Prototype) with the objective to develop and test a working hybrid rocket engine. The engine represents the company’ core technology and demonstrates its ability to successfully develop an orbital launcher. The first test are planned from September 2018 with engine completion around February 2019
  • Phase 2: Suborbital flight (MVP) with the objective to develop and launch a suborbital launcher. This launcher will be a scalable model of the final commercial product. The plan is to have the full suborbital launcher development going by July 2019 with a launch target of November 2019
  • Phase 3: The Orbital Flight of the final product. The objective is to scale up the suborbital launcher to a full commercial product with orbital launch capabilities with the development to be completed by July 2020 and launch in November 2020
  • Phase 4: Commercialization of Reaction Dynamics` launcher with the objective to reach 20+ launches per year.


The company is the first to offer orbital launch capabilities in Canada where there is no existing regulation yet. Reaction Dynamics’ initial launch operations are planned from Canso, Nova Scotia and will benefit from leaner launch procedure than US competitors.

The Reaction Dynamics Team

World's largest ecosystem for space-related entrepreneurship
ESA’s Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Programme Office (TTPO) operates the ‘ESA space solutions’ network of Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs) and Technology Transfer Brokers offering complete access to all aspects of space-related innovation, technology and intellectual properties and is a gateway to ESA and European space research and developments.

Today, there are 20 ESA BICs in 17 European countries – Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and UK – forming the largest ecosystem in the world for space-related entrepreneurship.

Over 650 start-ups have been fostered and another 150 new start-ups are taken in yearly at ESA BICs to be supported under the two-years business development boosting programme.

Visit “Start-ups Zone powered by ESA space solutions”
Meet all the start-ups from 1 October until 5 October at the dedicated Start-ups Zone powered by ESA space solutions at IAC 2018 area at IAC 2018.

The Reaction Dynamics entrepreneurs will be at the Start-ups Zone at IAC 2018 from 3 October noon until 5 October, and be pitching their business 4 October.