February 9, 2023

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NASA Tests Rotary Detonation Engine: It Will Revolutionize Space Travel

Propulsion technology is a key component to achieving advanced space missions, both in terms of exploration of the Moon and Mars, and in terms of transporting cargo and people to destinations farther out in deep space. To this end, engineers have been involved in studying new forms of propulsion in NASAthey developed and Test the first rotating detonation engineor also known as RDRE.

The operation of a rotary detonation engine relies on supersonic combustion, known as detonation, which allows Generate more thrust using less fuel than current propulsion systems. Of course, the explosions and supersonic waves that are generated inside the combustion chamber are very complex to manage, and thus the project takes on more importance given the status of progress.

This technology has been talked about since the 1950s, but to be honest, when it was put into theory it seemed more ideal than real, at least to this day. This type of engine could be used to power both human landers and interplanetary vehicles for destinations farther out in space, such as the Moon and Mars, and could represent an alternative to other technologies currently under study. Like thermonuclear we told you about recently, or the classical “chemistry” of combustion, which has long characterized all synthetic rockets. For those who want to be updated on the action of a jet rocket, they will find bread for their teeth through the following link.

Engineers from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and major shareholder of Space Corporation LLC conducted a test launch on RDRE in 2022, confirming the data obtained. RDRE achieved its main goal by proving that its equipment, made with 3D printing technologies, can operate for extended periods while withstanding the harsh conditions resulting from blasting. During testing, the RDRE produced approximately 2 tons of thrust for approximately one minute The average chamber pressure is 47 kgf/cm2, which is the highest pressure level ever recorded for this type of engine.

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The RDRE uses a NASA-developed GRCop-42 copper alloy, and powder coat fusing process to allow the engine to operate in harsh conditions for longer periods.

The results obtained during the tests represent an important step towards the use of this technology in future spacecraft, which will allow NASA, and the commercial space industry in general, to transport ever-increasing payloads to destinations in deep space, which is an essential component of the making of space. Exploration is more sustainable.

Following the positive results obtained with RDRE, NASA engineers are working to develop a more powerful and fully reusable RDRE engine to determine performance advantages over conventional liquid engines. We leave you with the amazing test video of the rotary detonation engine.