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Green Fuel In Space

New fuel being used is  a milestone

Advantages of liquid propellant

  1. Generates more thrust per unit volume.
  2. More compact and occupies less space.
  3. More manoeuvrable as the engine can be shut off and started easily.

Disadvantages of liquid propellant

  1. More corrosive and difficult to store.
  2. More expensive in comparison to solid fuels.
  3. Difficulty in transportation.

Composite alternative Propellants

For aerospace and defence applications India has developed various composite propellants and successfully tested them.

Research is undergoing to realize an eco-friendly propellant such as Ammonium Di-Nitramide (ADN). Moreover the class of propellants known as Low Vulnerability (LOVA) are on the verge of replacing conventional double base and triple base propellants

The propellant blends hydroxyl ammonium nitrate with an oxidizer that allows it to burn, creating an alternative to hydrazine, the highly toxic fuel commonly used by spacecraft today.

Hydrogen peroxide/ethanol as propellant

Liquid oxygen methane engine

Despite criticism and early technical failures, the taming of liquid hydrogen proved to be one of NASA’s most significant technical accomplishments. . . . Hydrogen — a light and extremely powerful rocket propellant — has the lowest molecular weight of any known substance and burns with extreme intensity (5,500°F). In combination with an oxidizer such as liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen yields the highest specific impulse, or efficiency in relation to the amount of propellant consumed, of any known rocket propellant.

Because liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen are both cryogenic — gases that can be liquefied only at extremely low temperatures — they pose enormous technical challenges. Liquid hydrogen must be stored at minus 423°F and handled with extreme care. To keep it from evaporating or boiling off, rockets fuelled with liquid hydrogen must be carefully insulated from all sources of heat, such as rocket engine exhaust and air friction during flight through the atmosphere. Once the vehicle reaches space,


A non-toxic, rosé-colored liquid could fuel the future in space and propel missions to the Moon or other worlds. NASA will test the fuel and compatible propulsion system in space for the first time with the Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM), set to launch this month on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.

The propellant blends hydroxyl ammonium nitrate with an oxidizer that allows it to burn

Space grade lithium ion batteries


  1. The carbon-carbon composite used in the heat shield of Agni missile is used to make disc in the heart valve.
  2. The carbon-carbon composite has also found its use in hipbone fracture surgery and helps in improving the quality of fixation plates.
  3. The advanced chips that were used in Agni and Prithvi Missile, known as ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit).
  4. Telemetry system used in the missile to monitor the function of various system is used to monitor patients in ICU in hospitals.
  5. The data processing used in the light combat aircraft has led to the development of a low cost cycloscan, which helps in early detection of cancer.
  6. The carbon composites are used for support sticks for Polio patients.
  7. Space grade lithium ion batteries



  • cost savings
  • It’s denser than hydrazine and offers nearly 50% better performance – equivalent to getting 50% more miles per gallon on your car.
  • This means spacecraft can travel farther or operate for longer with less propellant onboard.
  • Taking the green propellant from the lab to space insures the capability can be fully adopted by government and industry.


  • “If it weren’t for the initial investment and inherent risk of doing something for the first time, this technology would likely already be in space,”
  • The trend is towards smaller and smaller satellites, to do more mission in a small package.”
  • The technology appeals to small and cube satellite builders who have small budgets and serious space and weight limitations. From small satellites to large spacecraft, there’s a wide range of space missions that can benefit by using green propellant. “GPIM has the potential to inspire new ideas and new missions,”

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