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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Space.com: Rocket Science: Reaching for Space with Rubber Fuel
chabot imageFor SpaceShipOne, reaching space takes three things: a pilot, a spacecraft, and enough to propellant to rocket away from Earth.
But the fuel in SpaceShipOne's tank is about as exotic as the spacecraft's design. SpaceShipOne, set to be the first non-governmental crewed vehicle to reach space, uses a combination of rubber and nitrous oxide -- also known as laughing gas -- as the powerhouse for test flights and an anticipated suborbital spaceshot set for June 21.
"These are all state of the art technologies," said Jim Benson, founding chairman and chief executive of SpaceDev, of SpaceShipOne's fuel process. "It's a very stable and non-toxic system."
Based in Poway, California, SpaceDev is responsible for refueling SpaceShipOne after each flight as well providing crucial elements of its hybrid rocket engine, a cross between traditional liquid and solid rocket motors.
SpaceShipOne was designed by aerospace veteran Burt Rutan and his Mojave, California-based firm Scaled Composites. The craft is one of 26 teams vying for the Ansari X Prize competition to privately build a vehicle capable of transporting three people 62 miles (100 kilometers) above Earth twice in two weeks, with the winner snagging a $10 million purse. Read More

An other article: economist.com: Enterprise prepares for lift-off


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