Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hot New Russian Rocket Fual

This is one huge jump in efficiency and will certainly be quickly adopted. No other details are available so there is little to add. The cost is also compelling and I must reasonably consider this fuel as hotter than straight hydrogen which is unexpected. It may even be stable although that may be a challenge.

Yes this is an important development if it lives up to this billing. I am sure the chemical dynamics will be intriguing.

This will also be welcome to the many present rocket developers. We now have a way to reach high altitude and high speed as an airbreather and then switching over to a super hot last stage into space is good news. Sooner or later, we are going to throw tonnage into space.

Russia develops new rocket fuel

by Staff Writers

Moscow (Voice of Russia) Jan 07, 2013

Specialists from Russian scientific-production association Energomash have developed a state-of-the-art high-efficient fuel, news reports said on Thursday.

According to Energomash chief executive Vladimir Solntsev, the Atsetam fuel will help increase the efficiency of rocket engines by at least one third in the future.

He said that in particular, the new fuel may be used in upper-stage rocket engines.

Additional Copy

Experts from Russian manufacturer NPO Energomash “V.P. Glushko” and RSC Applied Chemistry have developed a state-of-the-art high-performance rocket fuel, working on a completely novel mixture of acetylene and ammonia called Atsetam.“A mixture of acetylene and ammonia is 20 times cheaper than hydrogen, as a kilogram of hydrogen costs about 2,000 rubles ($67) and a kilo of Atsetam is maximum of 100 rubles ($3.35),” explained Energomash’s Director of Innovative Technology, Anatoly Likhvantsev.

At the beginning of December 2012, Energomash obtained the first experimental batch of Atsetam, confirming the findings of previous theoretical studies. The batch also proved the effectiveness of the technology developed for the fuel’s production. The new Atsetam fuel is not only cheaper than hydrogen but it can also be easily stored and transported, whereas hydrogen requires special storage and transportation conditions.

Energomash has also started developing an engine to work with the new mixture. The engine will be assembled on the basis of the RD-161, originally designed to work with oxygen and kerosene.  The development will not require major structural changes to existing rocket motors since the physical properties of Atsetam do not differ much from kerosene.

Although the exact engine’s parameters will be determined during upcoming tests that are scheduled to last until 2016, Energomash chief executive Vladimir Solntsev is persuaded that the Atsetam fuel will help increase the efficiency of rocket engines by at least 30% in the future.

Energomash is carrying out work on processing and certifying Atsetam as a prospective rocket fuel application at its own expense, partially supported by the Skolkovo Innovation Centre. In 2013-2014, Energomash plans to develop a technology for generating industrial quantities of Atsetam. It also plans to develop a test bed and carry out firing tests of the new oxygen-Atsetam liquid propellant engine prototype.

If all goes well in the test and certification phase, and depending on funding, the first launch with the new engine will occur in 2017-2018.

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