Microwaves to power future space shuttles.
Do you get excited if you hear that a technology used in the kitchen could be used to power future space technology? If you do, then this is for you.
The electromagnetic radiation used to heat up food in the kitchen could propel a shuttle into space.
This is made possible by Escape Dynamics, a Colorado based technology company. The company says that its initial testing results has showed that it is possible to launch single stage shuttles in to the orbit using microwaves fired from the ground. If everything goes well this technology could revolutionize the space industry by reducing costs and improving safety standards.
Project – Aim :
The primary goal of the project is to reduce the costs of space travels and improve the safety measures.
At present we rely on multistage rockets that require an extraordinary amount of liquid fuel to propel space shuttles into space. This fuel would make up 90% of rocket’s initial mass which costs 5000$ to 50000 $ approximately per kilogram of payload delivered into orbit. Further more, Its always a risk if you make a person travel in a big box powered by powerful chemical combustion.
In order to shed risks associated with explosive rocket fuel the company is working on this project.
The concept :
The key concept is to heat the fuel tank filled with hydrogen, by firing microwaves from earth.
In detail the space-plane would carry a fuel tank filled with hydrogen which is very light. This would be heated up by microwaves sent from earth to space – plane’s external microwave absorbing heat exchanger this would in turn heat the hydrogen packed in the tank and would eventually burst out through a nozzle system in the shuttle to create thrust.
How far the project been through?
The company Escape Dynamics, tested a scaled down prototype, which is a ground based thruster using helium as fuel.
The result is that the prototype generated a specific impulse(the force that moves a rocket into air) of 500 seconds. Which is mostly 460 seconds in the case of chemical combustion rockets.
There are a quite few hurdles standing in the path before escape dynamics could make full fledged missions.
Scientist need to make sure of it is possible to build a microwave antenna array powerful enough to heat the target, also have to make sure that the beam stays on target.
If escape dynamics could shatter all these hurdles and set things up. It would revamp the way we send people and cargo into space.
What do you think of this future space technology? Tell us in comments.
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