NASA is about to test for the first time a safer rocket fuel – BGR


The fuel that today supplies most spaceships is extremely toxic to living organisms. This is not normally a big problem when you are sending something into space, but it can still present some risks if an incident occurs, if a spacecraft crashes on the Earth. It is also a major obstacle for engineers who work closely with space equipment on a daily basis.

NASA thinks that it could find a solution to all this in the form of a new "green" alternative fuel that will replace the highly toxic hydrazine with a much safer new formulation and, in fact definitive, even more powerful than modern fuels.

As NASA explains in a new blog post, the new fuel, pink in color, is much safer for engineers. Handling of toxic hydrazine requires important precautions, including gloves, a full suit and even oxygen masks. The greener fuel alternative should always be handled with care, but it does not require the same incredibly strict rules as its predecessor.

The advantage for NASA and other space groups is that the refueling process could be carried out earlier in the procedures leading up to launch, not to mention less expensive solutions. As a bonus, the new, safer fuel is about 50% more efficient than the more toxic option, allowing space vehicles more freedom of maneuver or allowing them to travel greater distances with the same amount of fuel.

The first space test of the new fuel will take place later this month when SpaceX launches NASA's Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) satellite. The spacecraft will give NASA the opportunity to test the fuel and determine if it is a viable option for future missions. If all goes well, the new thruster could be the next standard for rocket fuel, providing increased safety and increased efficiency.

Image Source: Aerojet Rocketdyne


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