Questions tagged [fuel]

Questions about rocket oxidizer, propellant, reactive mass, or other fuels used in spacecraft or rockets.

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5
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1answer
89 views

Why did Orbex choose propane as its fuel?

As a follow up to Are there liquid fueled rocket boosters having coaxial fuel/oxidizer tanks? and thinking about JCRM's answer pointing the issue of having a huge contact surface between inner and ...
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52 views

Maximum speed of rocket propellant flow?

In reading this question (Limiting factors of liquid rocket engine thrust), it prompts me to ask if there is an upper limit in how fast the propellant/oxidizer can be pumped into a combustion chamber ...
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What is the icy formation on these rockets? [duplicate]

I've sometimes seen icy formations form and break off of spacecraft. In today's SpaceX launch, there are a couple examples (times based on video) at 51:55 where you can see it growing: Two similar ...
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2answers
153 views

Chandrayaan 2: How has life of the orbiter increased from 1 year to more than 7 years?

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/chandrayaan-2-orbiter-has-life-of-7-yrs-95-of-mission-accomplished-isro/articleshow/71026990.cms The ISRO Chairman has reported that the economic use of fuel ...
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130 views

Options for making rocket fuel using the Moon's natural resources

Based on what is known about the chemistry of the lunar surface through remote sensing and surface exploration, what raw ingredients are likely to be available that can be used to make rocket fuel?
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Does the NK-33 engine require subcooled kerosene so cold that it turns to wax?

It was mentioned in this answer and in several other places on the internet that the kerosene fuel used by NK-33 engines needed to be subcooled enough so that it reached the same density as the LOX, ...
3
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1answer
140 views

What is a propellant burner trailer?

CNN and NPR have pointed out that the US president recently tweeted a surveillance photo of an explosion of a rocket on a launch pad. One of the items identified in the photo is labeled as a ...
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1answer
101 views

Why RFNA is used in orbital rocket and why it leaks?

The red fume can be seen in some ballistic missile tests and of course here for the case of Chinese KZ-1A orbital launcher. i wonder what's the usage and why it leaks.
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Pressurization line (Helium to LOX tank line) chilling while pressurizing LOX tank

I have read that in rockets and launch vehicles Helium is used for the pressurization of propellant tanks. What temperature Helium is stored at? If Helium is stored at room temperature then while ...
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2answers
100 views

What is the ideal propulsion for an inner solar system spacecraft?

I've seen the X3 ion thruster named as the future for traveling between planets. Would the ideal spacecraft have only one propulsion? Or would it have multiple sources such as hydrazine and solar ...
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How are cryogenic rocket propellants delivered to the launch pad?

I work at a university that gets LN2/LHe (liquid nitrogen and helium) delivered a couple times a week by a large tanker truck outside my office. It seems to work well enough to deliver a couple tons ...
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81 views

How is it that “blow-down” propellant storage systems work in micro/ zero-gravity?

A "blowdown" pressure system is something that is extensively utilized on Earth -- with tons of applications ranging from kegs to high-tech hydraulics. This architecture focuses on adding a ...
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1answer
104 views

Could H$_2$S$_2$O$_8$ (peroxydisulfuric acid), made in the clouds of Venus, be used for making a propellant?

The salts of the peroxydisulfate ion, S$_2$O$_8$$^2$$^-$, are strong oxidants like the perchlorates that are used in propellants for rockets. In this answer on Chemistry stackexchange is a link to a ...
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Why don't we use Cavea-B

Raiz Aerospace raised an interesting question during one of his KSP Realism Overhaul play throughs. If the RCS propellant Cavea-B is better than hydrazine and less toxic why does no one use Cavea-B, ...
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1answer
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Why was ramjet fuel used as hydraulic fluid during Saturn V checkout?

Fuel is also used within the engine as a lubricant and as a hydraulic working fluid, though before launch, RJ-1 ramjet fuel is supplied from the ground, it being more suited for this purpose. ...
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1answer
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Vector-R's LP-1 and -2 engines use liquid propylene as fuel with LOX, advantages and distinctions from kerosene or propane?

@gwally's answer highlights the company Vector Launch Inc. and their Vector-R rocket, which uses three LP-1 18,300 lbf engines on the first stage and one LP-2 1,000 lbf second stage engine to put ...
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1answer
634 views

What factors are influencing a woosh rocket?

I asked this over at Physics, but no one seemed to know, so I'll try here: If I fill a plastic bottle with a small amount of rubbing alcohol, shake it around and hold a match to the bottle neck, I'll ...
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1answer
215 views

Does this Soyuz vehicle burn coal or oil? What is its official name?

This tweet shows the image below and says: Soyuz rocket on its way to the launch pad (on a train of course). Question: Does this Soyuz vehicle (a train engine) burn coal or oil? Does it have an ...
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2answers
575 views

Which heavenly bodies have stuff to make rocket fuel?

Which planets or large moons of our solar system are currently known to have the raw materials needed for us to produce rocket fuel? Mars, for example, has plentiful CO₂, and we know how to produce ...
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Why is fuel cheap compared to rocket?

The fuel for a Falcon 9 (SpaceX) costs around \$200,000 per launch, while the launch itself costs \$62,000,000. Safety precautions, rocket shell and rocket engines cost a lot. But why not fuel?
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Why would it be “less bad” for hydroxylammonium nitrate monopropellant to freeze than for hydrazine?

Answers to Is it bad if hydrazine freezes on a spacecraft? Is it always kept as liquid, or can it be safely allowed to freeze and then thawed when needed? explain that while the freezing of hydrazine ...
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Is the EU really banning “toxic propellants” in 2020? How is that going to work?

This comment links to an archived presentation by Tesseract "The space transportation company offering revolutionary propulsion" says on slide 8: Timing is right Small satellite ...
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When would the density Isp product be an important performance metric of a propellant?

The quote NASA is testing hydroxylammonium nitrate in space which is expected to perform 50% better than standard propellants and can be allowed to freeze (hydrazine must be kept liquid). LMP-103S ...
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What is Tesseract's “secret sauce”? (green propellant)

TechCrunch's Tesseract makes spacecraft propulsion smaller, greener, stronger tells us to "ditch the hazmat suits" and https://www.tesseract.space/products-and-services lists the Lyra 22 (i.e. 22 ...
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Is HAN-water propellant “green” enough to ever be used in a cubesat?

I just read about the "green" propellant Hydroxylammonium nitrate writing this answer. It will be tested in the Green Propellant Infusion Mission (also see GPIM AF-M315E Propulsion System). Catalytic ...
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4answers
914 views

Is the Paramagnetism of Liquid Oxygen Ever Considered in Engine or Tank Design?

NOTE: I'm asking if this material property is ever considered. I'm not asking "do you think it should be considered". I'm pretty sure someone has considered it, and I am hoping to track down some ...
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Why alcohol had been selected as fuel for the first American space rockets?

I was surprised to read that Redstone used 75% ethyl alcohol as a fuel. Looks like this idea was abandoned later, and modern rockets use rectified petroleum or liquid hydrogen instead for burning with ...
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What “fuel more powerful than anything the West (had) in stock” put Laika in orbit aboard Sputnik 2?

The BBC World Service Radio Witness History podcast Laika, the first dog in space contains a short audio clips from some vintage 1950's British news. At 02:30 in a ...
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1answer
187 views

Why can't an expander-cycle engine be built to use RP-1 or other non-cryogenic fuels?

The expander cycle family of rocket-engine power cycles involve using waste heat from the engine's combustion chamber and/or nozzle to vapourise some or all of the engine's fuel, and using the now-...
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177 views

How were hypergolic propellants delivered to the Shuttle launch pad?

The Space Shuttle Main Engines used cryogenic hydrogen and oxygen, and this question explains how those were supplied to the launch pad. But the OMS and RCS engines used hypergolic fuels. How were ...
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103 views

In principle, could the oxygen tanks of an 'air breathing' rocket, be filled during ascent?

(Thinking of SABRE and it's heat exchanger). As I understand it, Skylon would take off with full oxygen tanks. Putting aside engineering difficulties, is there a thermodynamic reason why a hybrid ...
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Will the Rocket Lab's Electron rocket really be an effective launch system?

Rocket Lab, a company from New Zealand is working on a small rocket (18 m tall, 10 tonnes), for which there are already over 30 launches lined up at US $5M each. From Wikipedia: In July 2014 it ...
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533 views

How do rocket propellant combinations rank in terms of “brightness”?

While a booster on the shuttle had a bit more than twice the thrust of the shuttles engines at take-off, I'd venture a guess that it produced on the order of a thousand time more visible light. In ...
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117 views

Are rocket engine feed pipes flexible?

Let's restrict this question to rockets whose first stage : run on liquid propellant use turbopump (this may be too restrictive for this question, but it still restrict to many rockets in use today -...
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2answers
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Where is the Lithium-Fluorine-Hydrogen tripropellant currently?

One of notes near the end of "Ignition!" included: Using lithium and fluorine alone (no hydrogen) their maximum specific impulse was 458 seconds. But when they proportioned the lithium and ...
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Are the APUs on the SLS SRBs planned to be hydrazine powered?

I recently read that the Space Launch System core stage, which uses renamed / slightly reworked Space Shuttle Main Engines and therefore requires a hydraulic system to service said engines, will use ...
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222 views

Remaining fuel estimation/measuring Strategy in a spacecraft

During descent of a spacecraft to any planetary body the spacecraft uses retro engine with variable throttle to reduce the vehicle velocity to zero at touchdown. Inorder to compute for the amount of ...
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How does one “dump” or deplete propellant without changing spacecraft attitude or trajectory?

Occasionally one reads about a spacecraft "dumping fuel". It may mean expelling the propellant(s) as a liquid, or depleting them by burning them up. Although usually only fuel is mentioned, often ...
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1answer
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What happened to boiled-off gases from the storage tanks at Launch Complex 39?

Both Apollo and the Shuttle launched from KSC complex 39, and used liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as propellants. These cryogenic liquids were held in storage tanks near the perimeter of each ...
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Why will Starlink satellites use krypton instead of xenon for electric propulsion?

The press kit for the first Falcon 9 Starlink launch and deployment of the first 60 satllites scheduled for May 15, 2019 says: With a flat-panel design featuring multiple high-throughput antennas ...
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114 views

Can LOX containing hydrogen peroxide be used as an oxidizer for a liquid fueled rocket?

While searching the internet for designs on liquid fueled rocket engines, I noticed that some bottles of liquid oxygen say they contain some percentage of hydrogen peroxide. Could that be used as an ...
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How does the inter-propellant seal works in kerosene/LOX and UDMH/NTO rockets?

I get that the inter-propellant seal on the SSME LOX HP pump is simply a series of cascading regular seals trying to eliminate bleed-through by venting and letting boil at each stage, so that when ...
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1answer
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Why is LOX on top in the Space Shuttle external tank instead of the other the way round? [duplicate]

Why is oxygen placed on top of hydrogen? Does this have anything to do with letting the warmer and not the colder liquid have a non-spherical bulkhead and thus more surface area to reduce boil-off?
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Why did the Americans abandon kerosene after F-1 while the Soviets continued to develop it to very high sophistication?

What is the reason behind America's switch to LH2/LOX, and (USSR's) Russia's decision to stay with it and develop it to spectacular technical sophistication such as the Oxygen-rich staged combustion ...
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Do rockets deplete the oxygen on earth?

When we use our rockets in space, are we using up a fraction of the finite oxygen here on earth? I'm assuming that it's a negligible amount at our current rate of space travel, but could this ...
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1answer
188 views

Is Cryogenic Rocket Fuel Still Liquid When It Flows Through a Regeneratively-Cooled Nozzle?

For a rocket engine that runs on (deeply) cryogenic fuel like LH2, e.g. SSME, is the fuel kept liquid throughout the entire length of the regenerative cooling circuit in the nozzle? Or is it allowed ...
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1answer
667 views

What is the ortho/para issue with LH2 as a fuel?

I remember reading somewhere that a catalyst was used to change the ratio of ortho- vs para-hydrogen before it is loaded as LH2 propellant on a rocket. What is this exactly, and why is it necessary? ...
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342 views

Pro/cons of burning propellant in stochiometric ratio?

Several questions and answers here speak of stochiometric ratio. I do understand it is convinient for efficiency (greater ISP). I also read somewhere (I am unable ro find again the reference, it was ...
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437 views

How could a hydrazine and N2O4 cloud (or it's reactants) show up in weather radar?

Question: How could a hydrazine and N2O4 cloud (or it's reactants) show up in weather radar? Tweet: This is what an ‘anomaly’ looks like on weather radar. Tweet (with GIF): Dragon's static ...
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Why does Juno use “mixed oxides of nitrogen” oxidizer for propulsion? Which ones?

In the recent Spaceflight 101 article Rocket Burn postponed for NASA’s Juno, to remain in elongated Jupiter Orbit until December it says: Juno uses a bi-propellant main propulsion system with ...