Automobiles aren’t the only vehicles turning to more environmentally friendly fuel sources. As we reported recently, NASA are testing a new type of rocket propellant made of a mixture of water and “nanoscale aluminum” powder they claim could provide a cleaner way to launch rockets, power long-distance space missions and generate hydrogen for fuel cells. A number of readers wondered, not unreasonably, what qualifies a rocket fuel as eco-friendly. We now have a few more answers.
NASA and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) have successfully launched a nine-foot rocket to a height of 1,300ft using an environmentally-friendly propellant made from aluminum powder and water ice. The fuel, called ALICE, has the consistency of toothpaste with a high burn rate and achieved a maximum thrust of 650 pounds during this test.