by Staff Writers
Moscow (Sputnik) Jan 15, 2016
Russian federal agency Roscosmos plans to develop a natural-gas-powered rocket engine. The federal space exploration program for 2016-2025 guarantees funding for the project.
According to newspaper reports, under a special R and D project on propulsion engines, Russia will develop the structural elements of an oxyhydrogen-powered rocket engine. Roscosmos is reported to be ready to unveil over 25 billion rubles ($326 million), however not the entire sum will be spent on a methane-powered engine.
The project also includes developing prototypes of new-generation liquid-fueled rocker engines equipped with diagnostics and protection systems as well as structural elements from composite materials.
"We plan to build a methane-powered engine prototype even though a rocket-carrier equipped with it is not in development so far. It would be a stepping stone for our future projects, and it would help us compete with foreign rivals. Currently, the plan is developing a medium-thrust engine for the second stage of a future rocket," a source close to the initiative told Russian newspaper Izvestia.
The initial plan was to install a methane-powered engine on the new Feniks rocket. However, later the budget was adjusted and the idea was abandoned in favor of restoring the Zenit project, equipped with a modernized RD-171 engine.
As a whole, the project is an important part of Russia's efforts to create a low-cost, easy-to-maintain returnable rocket. The new booster could cut costs of space transportation thanks to its reliance on new engines powered by environmentally safe and widely available propellant made of cryogenically cooled natural gas (or methane) instead of traditional kerosene fuel.
In Russia, research into methane propulsion was led by Chemical Automatics Design Bureau, based in the city of Voronezh, and began in 1995. It was established that the replacement of kerosene fuel with liquefied natural gas could produce a higher specific impulse, one of the key characteristic of a rocket engine. What is more, methane was estimated to cost up to 30 times less than kerosene.
In addition, the development of a methane-powered propulsion system would not require any new major infrastructure or newly qualified personnel.
Finally, liquid methane and its combustion products would be environmentally safer.
Source: Sputnik News
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|