The new cosmic fuel would be safer for people to caffeine. Unlike the old
At the end of this month, a small satellite mission riding a rocket SpaceX Falcon Heavy within the world's first demonstration of the "green" propellant in space. The satellite flies at AFM-315 fuel, developed by the Air Force 20 years ago as an alternative to the conventional hydrazine satellites. In the case of AFM-315 satellites can make much more efficient, reduce the deployment of the satellite from weeks to days and will significantly reduce the requirements for the safe storage and handling of fuel with a satellite that will be a boon for people and the environment of success. Looking to the future, scientists working on fuel, saying that it will play an important role in facilitating transactions with remote satellites from the ground.
On what kind of fuel flying satellites?
Hydrazine - a volatile fuel, which ruin your day, and possibly life, if you will be exposed to its impact. For the filling of the satellite, you will need a lot of security infrastructure, including sealed SCAPE suits the whole body, just to deal with this stuff. AFM-315, on the other hand, is not more toxic than caffeine, so on you will only need a lab coat and a pump. "We just sat in the room with a plastic jug that ran the moon," said Chris McLean, Ball Aerospace engineer and project manager of NASA Green Propellant Infusion Mission.
Unlike hydrazine, which has the consistency of water, AFM-315 viscous. But it will increase the fuel density "run" of the satellite by 50% when compared to the same amount of hydrazine.
McLean says that one of the biggest advantages of AFM-315 is that it does not freeze. AFM-315 is a liquid salt, which means that at extremely low temperatures, it undergoes vitrification. It converts fuel brittle, glass-like solid, however, does not lead to expansion of the fuel, like frozen water or hydrazine. This attribute prevents the cracking of the fuel storage tanks and under load. Also, its glass transition point is extremely low, so the fuel need not be heated at the satellite - which usually is an energy-intensive process. MacLean says that it will make energy available for other instruments or systems on the satellite, which will open up new possibilities for missions to other planets.
But despite all its advantages, the way AFM-315 from concept to launch has been very long. First developed in the laboratory of the Air Force in 1998 as an alternative to satellite fuel, via AFM-315 use limited because of the high ignition temperature, twice the hydrazine. Required exotic and expensive materials for preventing damage of the satellite. By the end of the 2000s, the cost of production of propulsion systems capable of withstanding via AFM-315 combustion temperature became low enough that they can be applied, but no company wanted to take a chance to fill their satellites experimental fuel. To AFM-315 caught in the satellite sector, McLean said he needed to show itself in orbit. So NASA mission born of "green fuel". Originally scheduled for launch in 2015, the mission of the green fuel has faced delays, which prevented the development of SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. June 24 is planned to launch the satellite with the Falcon Heavy and other cargo, including atomic clocks, testing for navigation in deep space.
Satellite green tire fuel was developed by Ball Aerospace and equipped with four motors 1 newton and a motor output of 22 Newtons, which will be used for testing AFM-315 fuel. In the course of its 13-month mission, the satellite will enable the engines to perform orbital maneuvers, such as reducing the orbit, change in position or inclination, to test the effectiveness of a new rocket fuel.
MacLean says that there were already customers interested in using green fuel, if the demonstration flight will be successful. This means that the satellites will be able to perform operational missions around the earth within 18 months after the demonstration. Looking to the future, McLean says AFM-315 may be particularly useful for studying the cold regions of the solar system, such as the Martian poles.
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