Science
Methane rocket

Xcor Strip
The braided flame on this experimental methane rocket is beautiful-

The main engine, built and fired by the NASA contractor team Alliant Techsystems/XCOR Aerospace, is still in an early stage of development and isn’t ready for space. But if the technology proves itself, methane engines like this one could eventually be key to deep space exploration.

Methane (CH4), the principal component of natural gas, is abundant in the outer solar system. It can be harvested from Mars, Titan, Jupiter, and many other planets and moons. With fuel waiting at the destination, a rocket leaving Earth wouldn’t have to carry so much propellant, reducing the cost of a mission.

NASA – Methane Blast – [via] Link.

6 thoughts on “Methane rocket

  1. That’s great that methane is being re-researched as a fuel due to it’s system wide potential but where’s the oxidizer going to come from?

  2. hammerthumb

    the ship could just carry a metric shitload of oxidizer (liquid oxygen or possibly solid oxygen?) and just pick up the fuel needed to get it to the next stop.

    do you think thats what they’d do? those nasa guys are pretty smart, they’ve never lost a rocket midflight or a mars rover or something or forgot to convert metric to imperial on a couple measurements….

    oh wait…

    crap…

  3. So you’ve just spent a week on the surface of Titan, siphoning off a few million gallons of liquid methane from the lake and you’re set to go.

    3,2,1…. ignition!!!

    What am I missing here? Do tell. How do you get off the moon? Trampoline!?

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