The Dawn of a Rocket Engine Which Burns It’s Body as Fuel Receives Funding from the British Government

11th Oct 2020
University of Glasgow

A UK rocket company is set to launch and position small satellites into orbit with an engine that burns itself in order to fuel the whole rocket. This British rocket is receiving full financial support from the government.

Where is the Funding Coming From?

An amount of £90,000 has been given by the Defence and Security Accelerator, part of the Ministry of Defence in the UK. The money from this grant is being invested into further developing the autophage engine. 

The brains behind this self-sufficient engine are engineers from the James Watt School of Engineering at the University of Glasgow.

This UK Rocket is aimed to expand the knowledge within the industry and open the doors to more launch opportunities in Northern UK.

The Progress So Far

This history-making engine has already been taken through a series of tests by the university’s engineering team, with everything going to plan so far. 

The British rocket’s final product tests will take place in the UK’s newest space labs at Kingston University. This is scheduled to occur sometime during the next year.

The team is incredibly honoured and glad that the UK government is investing in their project. One of their representatives mentioned that this hybrid propellant will bring them closer to viability of their rockets since they will now have more power to reach orbit in smaller and more compact vehicles.

The rockets’ intended purpose is to launch small satellites into orbit. Before, delays had to be incurred as the rockets had to be grouped to take flight for different purposes to save on costs and minimize failures. However if history is any indication, if these flights failed, it would mean significant losses for all companies on board – the unsuccessful launch of a large rocket such as this with small satellites onboard is not very cost or time effective.

The production of these rockets will help in  increasing the number of launch sites. Such projects as this have paved the way for the development of smaller spaceports, especially in the UK.

Krzysztof Bzdyk, a former NASA associate, joined the Glasgow team to help with the engine’s development. He stated that the engine must run furnace-hot, enough to evaporate the fuel tube entirely. However this will have to be in a controlled manner in order to not damage the essential parts of the spacecraft as well. This will be achieved through regenerative cooling.

Wrap Up

These investments will help grow the UK rocket industry and encourage young minds to take up space engineering as a career. Industries will thrive in the same sector, offer jobs, and improve the growth of the space sector in the UK.

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