Autophage Nanolaunchers

Nanosatellites have the ability to open up access to space for new researchers. So why do we not have nanolaunchers to place them there?

Our approach

We are working with Dnipro National University, and others, to develop the autophage engine. This engine can consume the casing of the rocket itself for fuel, which means that there is less ‘dead mass’ and more room for payload. And, because smaller rockets suffer from a scaling problem (their casings are proportionally heavier for the same amount of propellant), we should be able to size these new vehicles to suit individual nanosatellites.


Why is this research important?

Today, nanosatellites can only be launched as secondary payloads on larger carriers. This creates delay, as they are grouped together, and compromise, as they need to accept the orbit of the carrier prime. With individualised nanolaunchers, we will be able to send nanosatellites to their desired orbit, on demand.



Patrick Harkness

Kevin Worrall


Research Themes