XCOR Aerospace and Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK) completed tests on a methane-burning rocket engine for NASA. This engine could help return America to the Moon and allow astronauts to tap extra-terrestrial sources of fuel. The engine work was funded by NASA's Exploration Technology Development Program at Langley, as part of the Propulsion and Cryogenics Advanced Development Project based at Glenn Research Center.
The 7,500 lbf thrust liquid oxygen (LOX)/liquid methane (LCH4) Workhorse Engine is being used to develop and refine methane rocket technology for possible use on lunar expeditions. Methane offers higher performance relative to other storable propellants, is less expensive to handle because of its lower toxicity, and is easier to store long-term than liquid hydrogen.
An additional factor that makes this propellant combination unique is the possibility that Oxygen and Methane can be obtained or manufactured from In-Situ Resources on the moon and other planets.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Xcor Aerospace News
Xcor Aerospace in Mojave, California has been busy: