Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Future Of Humanity - Rocket Fuel

What rocket fuel has the highest specific impulse? That is what fuel delivers the most bang for the buck? When I was in aerospace, the most popular mix was liquid Hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Since the question was asked, a couple experiments were done and slightly better performance was shown using liquid Fluorine and liquid Ozone.

People who know anything at all about those two chemicals are probably sidling away from the screen at just the thought of this stuff in tanks in any significant quantity. Nasty stuff.

Now we may have something better: Jargon and buzzwords. The right mix of these and I'm assured we're making relativistic speeds to the next solar system. I actually do follow the gist of this, and yes, it shows promise but when producing noticeable thrust requires more power than the entire world currently produces, your enthusiasm flags.

1 comment:

Steve said...

If I understand things correctly, it also depends on altitude, or the thickness of the atmosphere. At lower altitudes, RP1 actually performs better. At higher altitudes and in space, LH does better.

The Saturn V used RP1 on its first stage, then LH for the second and third. SpaceX only uses RP1 (for simplicity), but they made adjustments to their second stage to improve performance in space. The shuttle, and SLS, of course, had the huge LH/LOX ET, but they use SRBs for low altitude thrust.