Look out, Sir Richard Branson! You’ve got competition in your own backyard.
A small group of British rocket scientists hope to beat you into commercial suborbital space tourism service with a small rocket that costs a fraction of what you’re pouring into Virgin Galactic. And they plan to do it from Spaceport America, the $200 million taxpayer funded facility that you convinced New Mexico to build for your SpaceShipTwo flights.
A successful launch of the Eco-Rocket is important to Starchaserâ€™s future manned space flight programme as it will test fly the major components of the Launch Escape System (LES) that could be used to save the lives of Starchaser astronauts aboard the Thunderstar space tourism vehicle.
Phase two testing on our Eco-Friendly hybrid rocket engine project has been completed. The â€œlargeâ€ engine has performed flawlessly over two campaigns of 12 tests where the full thrust of 1000 kgf has been exceeded. The nominal burn time for each test was 8 seconds. Fuels tested were:
High Density Polythene HDPE (white)
High Density Polythene HDPE (black)
Acrylic / Perspex
HTPB / Recycled Car Tyre mix (30%)
HTPB / Aluminium mix (10%)
HTPB (original fuel for comparison)
Ultra High Molecular Weight Polythene (UHMWPE)
Exhaust gasses from all the above have been captured and transferred to an independent laboratory for analysis.
Phase one testing on our eco-friendly hybrid rocket engine project has been completed. A full report is available in the memberâ€™s area. Phase two is now underway which includes the testing of eight different fuels in our â€œsmallâ€ hybrid engine.
Fuels currently under evaluation include HTPB rubber, white polythene, polythene + carbon, polypropylene, HTPB + tyre rubber, HTPB + aluminium, acrylic and ultra high molecular weight polythene. In each case a sample of exhaust gases are being trapped and analysed. The most environmentally friendly fuels will then be further tested in the one tonne thrust engine.
Manchester based high technology Company Starchaser Industries will today conduct a full test firing of the environmentally friendly rocket engine it has developed using grant funding from the North West regional Development Agency (NWDA). The Â£130,730 award for Research and Development has been used to develop a unique eco-friendly rocket engine that will find eventual use as a safety system aboard commercial space rockets.