Questions tagged [fuel]

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

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When was liquid methane used for the first time in rocket engines?

When it was the first time the liquid methane was used in a rocket engine? I mean for space launches, but it would be interesting to also know about first uses in experimental [rocket] engines, in ...
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Can Chemical Engineer work on something related to space?

I am an undergraduate student (scientific section) living in Qatar. I have a big interest in astronomy and astrophysics and have participated in the IOAA (International Olympiad on Astronomy and ...
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Design of propellant tanks of a rocket [duplicate]

I understand that the propellants (e.g. LOX & LH2) are stored in a rocket tank which is pressurized by Helium or a neutral gas, so as to push the propellants towards the tank outlet, to the turbo-...
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Where could I find more propellant combustion charts for more different/more broad examples/numbers?

So after asking how I could calculate this kind of propellant combustion charts for different fuels/oxidizers and other ratios and other stuff and getting some really good answers, especially from ...
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Sending rockets to space will eventually consume all of our resources?

Imagine that we somehow manage to maintain frequent trips Earth <-> Mars. I'm not sure what fuel we use but I've read somewhere that it's methane due to its cheap cost. As the trip goes on for 6 ...
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Why is rocket engine flame usually clear/transparent at the nozzle?

This is a followup to a question about why the Falcon 9 second stage flame was invisible when out of the atmosphere. See: Why is the flame of the Falcon 9's 2nd stage invisible?. That was well ...
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Can Falcon 9 be fueled slowed to delay the instantaneous launch window?

DM-2's first launch attempt was scrubbed at about T−17 minutes due to bad weather at the instantaneous launch window, even though the weather was predicted to clear up as early as T+10. It was ...
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Storage density of a Deuterium-Helium 3 fusion pellet

in a series I am working on I will be using a D-He3 fusion drive system (similar to the one in the expanse according to Project RHO). I am under the assumption that the fuel will be stored in a pellet ...
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1answer
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Delta V/Fuel Cost for Satellite Rotation

How would you figure out the fuel cost or delta V for spinning up a S/C to match the orbital period of 27.32 days (moon orbit)? Given that the S/C is initially not rotating about any axes. For ...
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Was General Doolittle involved in the invention of RP-1?

James Doolittle is most famous for leading the 1942 air raid on Tokyo. However, between the world wars, he earned a doctorate in aeronautical engineering from MIT, became the manager of Shell Oil's ...
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How is fuel measured in spacecraft? [duplicate]

On something like a gravity-bound automobile, fuel is measured with a float that moves a variable resistor but I would think this would not be possible on a rocket, one because of extreme G-forces ...
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1answer
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How is fuel distributed in multi engine rocket stages?

How is fuel distributed evenly to multi-engine rockets like the Falcon 9, Electron, or multi-engined Centaurs? I would presume that there is only one main propellant line that goes down the raceway ...
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Cooling an aerospike spike via “fuel diversion”?

My question is, could an aerospike be cooled via diverting a very small quantity of your fuel (fuel used since it has a higher heat capacity than oxidizer and won't, you know, turn your engine into an ...
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1answer
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How is Cryogenic fuel kept… Cryogenic in rockets [duplicate]

How is cryogenic fuel & oxidizer kept at cryogenic temperatures in rockets? I am mostly interested in the first stage of launch vehicles rather than something like a Centaur that keeps hydrolox ...
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Is it correct that the Saturn V RP1 tank was pressurized by high pressure helium and the LOX tanks were pressurised by oxygen?

I understand from many sites that in the first stage of the Saturn V, the RP1 tank was pressurized by high pressure Helium tanks, but the LOX tanks were pressurized using gaseous oxygen. Is this ...
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rocket engine design

Do we need to preheat both the fuel e.g. LH2, and the oxidizer e.g. LOX, by running conduits around the nozzle? I presume both being cryogenic, preheating would be a must otherwise, engines will have ...
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Why can't cryogenic oxygen and cryogenic kerosene be “stored” together?

This question, to my knowledge, is only applicable to Rocket Lab's Electron, pressure-fed engines that use non-hypergolic fuels, and other engine cycles that don't use a fuel/oxygen-rich preburner. My ...
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1answer
645 views

Why is RP-1 dyed red?

I was interested to learn that RP-1 is at least sometimes dyed to a red color. What is the reason for doing this / what benefit does it give compared to leaving it the usual hydrocarbon clear-to-...
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What is the MXP-351 storable bipropellant?

Masten Space Systems has a proprietary hypergolic bipropellant called MXP-351 intended for use in the XL-1 lunar lander. We seem to know the following information: Non-cryogenic, with storage life of ...
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Why do Russian rocket engineers call C₂H₈N₂ “heptyl”?

Unsymmetrical dimethlyhydrazine or "UDMH" is a propellant which has been used by Russian, American, European, Chinese, and Indian rockets. Russian rocket engineers nickname it "heptyl". Why was this ...
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What actually is RP-1, and how is it different from any other hydrocarbon liquid fuel?

Related: Russian "kerosene" versus American "RP-1", however that's more about the details of specific rocket kerosene specs than rocket kerosene in the context of hydrocarbon and ...
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Would symmetrical dimethylhydrazine work as a hypergolic fuel?

Hydrazine and its various derivatives have been used as hypergolic fuels. hydrazine monomethylhydrazine (MMH) unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine (UDMH) Aerozine 50 is a mixture of 50% hydrazine and ...
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How are fuel/hydraulics pipes coupled in spacecraft?

How are pipes coupled in spacecraft? I found Shape memory alloy pipe couplings (SCoup, see image taken from link) are sometimes used. -Is this still the case and in what quantity are they used? -...
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Hydrocarbon + Nitrous Oxide: Is this a “friendly” alternative propellant system to hydrazine and NTO?

Even if you don't care about hypergolicity, there's the serious problem that most storeable chemical fuels are either horrifically toxic (like N2O4), dangerously unstable (like high-test peroxide), or ...
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1answer
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Was metastable solid metallic hydrogen really debunked as viable future fuel?

In this thread about Kerbal Space Program 2 authors says they are building gameplay based on technologies that are potentially viable in the near, or ar future. Main topic there is metallic hydrogen. ...
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1answer
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Is there any way to get better performance from an NTR with non-H2 propellant?

Related: Is there some fundamental limitation that would prevent steam-powered rockets from reaching space? Thermal rockets, including nuclear thermal rockets, work best with minimal molecular weight ...
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1answer
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Is present-day plumbing technology enough to make refueling of hypergol rockets safe? What about only in space?

Sadly, all of the currently commonly used chemical rocket fuels that are either hypergolic or storable are horribly toxic/corrosive/explosive. RP-1 is so safe you can pour it out of a gas can, but ...
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Could rocket fuel be mass produced in Ceres?

According to NASA rocket fuel Mars Liquid methane could be used as the fuel, produced from carbon dioxide and water found on Mars. If NASA is "working on it", there has to be many technical ...
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1answer
553 views

How long does it take to refuel a rocket?

I've been wondering how long the refueling of a rocket, say the falcon 9 takes. That's it.
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Bio-Fuel for Rocket Science

In season 1 of the 2018 Lost In Space Series which aired on Netflix† the last Episode has the Robinson family using the by-products of living beings (faeces) as biofuel. If we were to use the same ...
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1answer
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Why does it take Spaceway 1 (satellite) two or three months to dump 73 kg of bipropellant?

I read on https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/01/directv-races-to-decommission-broken-boeing-satellite-before-it-explodes/ (mirror): In the time available, DirecTV said "it will be ...
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Acceleration and reaction mass?

somewhere in a galaxy a long time ago I was informed that accelerating a spaceship at one gravity (Earth value) would result in near relativistic velocity after only one day (Earth value) - I was ...
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1answer
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Need help with 'Tsiolkovsky's Rocket Equation': What's the maximum weight of my rockets command module?

A civilization wants to transport a command module towards another planet that is passing by. Their planet has a radius of 6'800 kilometers and weighs about 9 × 10^24 kg. They have no stronger engines ...
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Is it possible to use gases instead of liquids as fuel in a rocket engine?

Im reading about rocket engines and I have a question about is it possible to use fuels in the form of gases than a liquid in a rocket engine?
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3answers
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Ion Drives specific impulse somewhat of a false economy?

I've been working through a thought experiment with a friend of mine, with some of my previous questions already being (very helpfully) answered on here :) Here's the current issue I have though - ...
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1answer
727 views

VASIMR - Propellant usage data?

So I am using the VASIMR data of approximately 5N of force per 250kw of power draw. As far as I can see, this scales fairly linearly, so 500kw would result in 10N of force. (Might require two engines, ...
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Looking for fuel mass per kg payload data for Ion drives

I'm looking for some information on what the fuel/propellant mass per kg of payload is for ion drives. Hall X3 or VASIMR or whichever is currently the 'best' that we have available. This isn't for ...
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Looking for figures for contemporary interstellar engine options

So I have already done... a lot of reading on this subject lately. A lot. You wouldn't believe. My maths is... functional, probably far above 'average', but when it gets into the realms of the 'rocket ...
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Would it be possible to use electrically charged plasma to drive a vehicle to space? [duplicate]

Electrically charged plasma is not extremely difficult, at least in materials needed. I was wondering if it would be a practical substance due to its high energy. I also thought that, if it remained ...
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Why is the Space Shuttle's External Tank fuelled through the Orbiter's main engine plumbing system?

This answer states that Space Shuttle's External Tank (ET) was fuelled (this process is known as Tanking) through the Orbiter's main engine plumbing system with the Tail Service Masts (TSM). One ...
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Are there examples of a spacecraft designed for transitions from supercritical to liquid+gas mixtures?

The question What happens when supercritical fuel tanks deplete below critical point? suggests some possible scenarios when the pressure of a tank is in danger of dropping below the supercritical ...
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Why would oxygen be stored as a super critical fluid?

Organic Marble just answered a question about Apollo 13 in terms of the storage of Oxygen, and posted some fascinating stuff, including the fact that Oxygen was stored as a super-critical fluid. I ...
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How does a NTR with an afterburner perform at a stoichiometric mixing ratio?

The LANTR entry at Encyclopedia Astronautica describes how a sample nuclear thermal rocket performs at various mixing ratios of LH2/LOX. It does however stop before reaching the stoichiometric ratio ...
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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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2answers
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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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1answer
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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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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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2answers
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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 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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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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