Russian scientists have conducted the world’s first successful tests on what they claim is ‘the future of space travel’ – and it runs on clean fuel.
The Russian Advanced Research Foundation has announced the construction and testing of a pulse-detonation rocket engine, which uses high thermodynamic efficiency to allow spacecraft to achieve much greater capabilities.
The researchers say this type of engine could enable rockets to carry a heavier payload and reduce the cost of shipping cargo into orbit.
Scientists with the Russian Advanced Research Foundation (FPI) conducted tests through July and August, RT reports, and has now revealed their achievements on the group’s website.
According to the FPI, this marks ‘the world’s first full-size pulse-detonation rocket engine demonstrator.’
This type of system uses detonation waves to combust the fuel and oxidizer, and the researchers say it would rely on clean fuel – an oxygen-kerosene pairing.
‘We took up the challenge – to prove the possibility to create a detonation in oxygen-kerosene rocket engines,’ Igor Denisov, the FPI’s deputy director said in comments on the successful tests, RT reports.
‘And now we can firmly say that this is possible, and we know how to do it.’
The project was launched in 2014, backed by Energomash.
And, Russia isn’t the only country that has been interested in this type of technology.
According to RT, the US is involved in developing pulse-detonation engines as well.
The US tested a pulse-detonation engine in a plane back in January 2008 through the US Air Force Research Laboratory.
The FPI claims the liquid fuel engines used by rockets today have reached their full potential, and the new system could push capabilities much farther.
‘The experimental studies have clearly confirmed the theoretical possibility of creating a national PDRE for a new generation of missile technology,’ said Boris Satovsky, the chief of the project, RT reports.
‘Many leading countries are involve in the development of detonation engines, but no one has so far yielded any serious results.’