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Propelling satellites into the future
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Feb 04, 2021

Two green propellants called LMP-103S - flight-tested on Sweden's Prisma formation flying mission - and HTP - high-test peroxide, previously used in past UK rockets - were shown to have compatibility with up to ten welded materials (while HTP was incompatible with titanium).

Candidate 'green' satellite propellants within a temperature-controlled incubator, undergoing heating as a way to simulate the speeding up of time.

Today hydrazine is the most common propellant employed by thrusters aboard satellites: it is highly energetic in nature but also toxic and corrosive, as well as dangerous to handle and store. ESA initiated a study with European Astrotech Ltd in the UK to look into greener propellants and propulsion systems, to provide comparable performance with reduced toxicity and handling costs.

The testing investigated the compatibility between a variety of current and future materials and weld combinations with two propellant candidates in detail while checking others as well. By using materials already present in propulsion systems, the aim is to help to reduce any necessary modifications needed, shrinking costs and development times.

An eight-month test cycle became the equivalent of 5.33 years on-orbit by elevating temperature, hunting out for any degradation in the welds, materials and propellants - such as broken welds, material mass loss or etching.

Two green propellants called LMP-103S - flight-tested on Sweden's Prisma formation flying mission - and HTP - high-test peroxide, previously used in past UK rockets - were shown to have compatibility with up to ten welded materials (while HTP was incompatible with titanium).

The project was supported through ESA's Technology Development Element, investigating promising innovations for space.

It comes in response to the European Commission's Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH) regulation, that seeks to limit industry's use of chemical substances that may be hazardous to human health or the environment.

Related Links
European Astrotech Ltd
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com

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SpaceX flies, crashes massive Starship rocket again
Washington DC (UPI) Feb 2, 2021
SpaceX's test flight of the company's deep-space Starship rocket ended for a second time in a fiery explosion on the landing pad Tuesday in Boca Chica, Texas, after the Federal Aviation Administration modified the company's license to allow the launch. The rocket, named SN9, ascended to a height of more than 6 miles and performed a flip manuever. But after it descended, its engines appeared to ignite improperly, according to live video SpaceX provided. The explosion is not necessarily a ... read more

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