18 January 2007

Cows in space!

5M15 rocket motor

Someone’s figured out what to do with all of the excess methane we have: shoot it into space.

XCOR Aerospace’s model 5M15 rocket motor does just that. Methane is easier to manage than kerosene, & much easier to store & manage than hydrogen.

In fact, it’s so much easier that they’re looking at Mars missions which use stored hydrogen to generate methane on the spot.

XCOR & Alliant Techsystems (ATK) will next build a regeneratively-cooled version of the engine this year, to make a “flight-weight” edition for real-life use. The test-firings used a heatsink core (serious overclocking) for half a dozen tests in which “everything worked incredibly well” according to XCOR’s CEO, Jeff Greason.

So... we won’t be seeing “pigs in space” just yet, but pig output in space, yes, & cow output, too.

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