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Starchaser Launch Escape Hardware Tested

Published by Rob on Tue Jul 12, 2005 3:24 pm
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July 12th space.com
The folks at Team Starchaser in the United Kingdom are roaring with delight. A test thruster that is part of their passenger-carrying rocket’s launch escape system had a successful shakeout test July 4th.

Starchaser engineer, Tony Priest, said the test thruster used kerosene injection for the first time. The launch escape thruster system uses hydrogen peroxide which is decomposed by a silver catalyst into super-heated steam and oxygen. Then kerosene is injected into this stream which ignites. All this rocket science turns the thruster into a small bi-liquid engine, he said.

“We saw a clean exhaust filled with clearly visible mach diamonds following the flawless ignition of the fuel. The system seems to have suffered no damage during the test and we are currently analyzing the test data, Priest advised SPACE.com.

The test is seen as progress toward development of the group’s human-carrying booster. The launch escape equipment is being designed to safeguard the capsule and the lives of any astronaut occupants in the event of an emergency scenario befalling Starchaser’s rocket during liftoff.

Meanwhile, Starchaser chief, Steve Bennett, announced July 11 that the firm has signed the lease on new U.S. headquarters, situated in Las Cruces New Mexico – home of the X Prize Cup festivities.

– Leonard David space.com

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