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We live in a world where seemingly everything has “gone green.” Now, even our rocket fuel may soon be labeled with the popular buzzword. Boulder company Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. recently announced that it has successfully met an initial benchmark on its way to developing a more environmentally friendly fuel for spacecraft. (Ball Aerospace is working on the project with another aerospace company, Aerojet Rocketdyne.)
“The successful first firing of the thruster proves we have the right technology for the mission and are on track for flight development,” said Civil Space and Technologies Vice President and General Manager of Ball, Jim Oschmann, in a statement. “Ball and Aerojet Rocketdyne are demonstrating the innovation needed to develop a fully domestic green propellant solution for the next generation of space flight.”
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The company says that the green fuel in development offers 50 percent better performance when compared with traditional fuel used in spacecraft. Ball Aerospace is working on the project for NASA. The end goal is to use the fuel to launch what NASA is calling its Green Propellant Infusion Mission set for late 2015—the first time a spacecraft will head into orbit powered by green fuel.
—Image courtesy of Shutterstock