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MaganStyer hydrogen fuel handling system (Image: MagnaSteyr Aerospace)

At first glance, hydrogen seems like a brilliant alternative fuel for motor cars. It burns so clean that all it produces is water, it’s the most abundant element in the universe and it doesn’t need all those rare earth elements and heavy metals that electric vehicles depend on. The only trouble is, it’s very difficult to handle. In an effort to make hydrogen cars practical, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Austrian automotive manufacturer MagnaSteyr are adapting technology developed for the Ariane rockets so that it can be used in cars, as part of ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme.  Read More

The Garvey Prospector P-15, powered by an ORBITEC vortex liquid fuel rocket engine, climbs...

Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) successfully flight tested its patented vortex liquid fuel rocket engine on October 25. The engine was installed in a Prospector-class Garvey Spacecraft Corporation launch vehicle, and the resulting rocket was launched at the Friends of Amateur Rocketry facility near Edwards Air Force Base in California. The flight established substantial progress toward ORBITEC's development of a 30,000-lb (13,600-kg) thrust vortex engine for the US Air Force Advanced Upper Stage Engine Program and for NASA's Space Launch System.  Read More

SLS solid rocket booster segment being moved (Image: ATK)

When NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) enters service in 2017, it will replace the historic Saturn V as the largest, most powerful space launch vehicle ever flown. To lift its initial 70-metric ton (77 ton) payload into orbit, the SLS will rely on additional boost from a pair of the largest solid rocket motors ever to be built for flight. The first of these boosters is being assembled for NASA in Brigham City, Utah by ATK Space Systems using new manufacturing methods intended to make these behemoths safer and less expensive.  Read More

Today's test firing of the hybrid rocket system

A 1,000 mph (Mach 1.4, 1,600 km/h) car came a step closer to reality today when the BLOODHOUND SSC team successfully test fired the vehicle’s rocket motor system. Conducted in a hardened aircraft shelter originally designed to house Tornado fighters at Newquay Cornwall Airport, the hybrid rocket motor burned for ten seconds, generating 14,000 lbs (60 kN, 40,000 bhp) of thrust and a roar of 180 decibels.  Read More

An artist's impression of BLOODHOUND

On Wednesday, Britain’s BLOODHOUND team will take the next step in their attempt to break the land speed record when they test Europe’s largest hybrid rocket engine at the Aerohub, located at Newquay Cornwall Airport. The static test for the BLOODHOUND SSC car’s rocket system will be the largest rocket fired in Britain in 20 years and, if successful, will open the way toward building a car capable of doing 1,000 mph (Mach 1.4, 1,600 km/hr).  Read More

SpaceX Grasshopper vertical takeoff and landing vehicle goes for a little hop

SpaceX's Falcon rocket has proven that it can fly, and now the private space transport company's Grasshopper is proving that it can hop. The vertical takeoff and landing test vehicle is part of a reusable first stage for Falcon 9 that's being developed by SpaceX to cut down on the cost of missions to space. On Friday, the Grasshopper took its first tiny test flight.  Read More

The different components that make up the MIT microthruster (Photo: MIT)

Small-scale satellites show a lot promise, but unless they have equally small-scale thrusters they’re pretty limited in what they can do. Unfortunately conventional thrusters are heavy and take up a lot of valuable space, but a penny-sized rocket engine developed at MIT holds the prospect of not only increasing the capabilities of miniature satellites, but of combating space junk as well.  Read More

A launch of STIG-A, STIG-B's predecessor (Photo: Armadillo Aerospace)

At Newspace 2012, hosted by the Space Frontier Foundation in Santa Clara, California, Armadillo Aerospace announced it has been awarded a two-year launch license by the FAA for the launch of its STIG-B payload-carrying vehicle into suborbital space this (northern hemisphere) summer from Spaceport America in New Mexico.  Read More

The F-1 engine sent the Apollo Moon missions into space (Photo: NASA)

A legendary Space Age rocket engine that sent mankind to the Moon in 1969 may be brought back to power humanity’s return to that celestial body. Under a NASA request, Dynetics Inc of Huntsville, Alabama has submitted a proposal apparently studying the feasibility of reviving the F-1 rocket engine technology. Previously used to power the first stage of the Saturn V rocket that launched the Apollo missions to the Moon, it could now find use in NASA’s planned Space Launch System (SLS) due to enter service in 2017.  Read More

SABRE is a crucial part of Reaction Engine's plans for the SKYLON spaceplane

Reaction Engines has announced that is has successfully tested the key pre-cooler component of its revolutionary SABRE engine crucial to the development of its SKYLON spaceplane. The company claims that craft equipped with SABRE engines will be able to fly to any destination on Earth in under 4 hours, or travel directly into space.  Read More

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