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Methane-powered rocket engine

Topics Covered:

Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

Methane-powered rocket engine

 

What to study?

For Prelims: why methane? Benefits.

For Mains: Challenges ahead and ways to address them.

 

Context: ISRO is developing two ‘LOx methane’ engines (liquid oxygen oxidiser and methane fuel) engines.

 

Why use methane?

  1. Methane, which can be synthesised with water and carbon dioxide in space, is often described as the space fuel of the future.
  2. Unsymmetrical Di-Methyl Hydrazine, along with Nitrogen tetroxide for oxidiser, currently being used by ISRO, is said to be highly toxic and cancer-causing.
  3. Whereas Methane, apart from being non-toxic, has a higher specific impulse (which means one kg of the gas can life one kg of mass for a longer time), it is easy to store, does not leave a residue upon burning, less bulky, and, importantly, can be synthesised up in space.

 

Sources: the Hindu.