I have heard of methane being a strong contender for Mars and beyond. Methane is a cryogenic fuel and is said to have a high specific impulse, and work with closed- and open-expander cycles. I have found some literature promoting it as a rocket fuel, but I don't see any engines that were tested with liquid methane.

Have there been any methane engines developed or tested?

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    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… $\endgroup$ Commented May 10, 2019 at 10:04
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, looks like all are under development, and none have flown before. Thanks though. @SteveLinton $\endgroup$
    – Rajath Pai
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 10:15

1 Answer 1


SpaceX's Raptor engine has been tested extensively and has actually been fired on the Starhopper (a sub-orbital test vehicle for Starship), lifting it off the ground last month. Blue Origin has also developed their BE-4 engine which combines liquid oxygen and liquid methane to produce thrust. Historically, kerosene has produced a higher performance to weight ratio due to the methane tanks being heavier to house the methane. You are correct with the Mars bit, as methane is present in the martian atmosphere, so we can use that methane to create fuel.

  • $\begingroup$ There is some methane in the martian atmosphere but it is very, very few, about 10 ppb ( parts per billion). There is methane, but it is not abundant at all. Carbon dioxide is abundant. So you should edit your answer. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 10:31

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