A radically different approach to space launch: escapedynamics team is developing the first single-stage-to-orbit spaceplane designed for full and rapid reusability. The key technology transition enabling this breakthrough is external propulsion. In external propulsion the energy required for launch is delivered from a ground-based phased array of microwave antennas designed to safely and efficiently beam flight-sustaining power to the spaceplane during the ascent and acceleration to orbital velocity.
Their externally powered launch vehicles represent a revolutionary improvement in efficiency compared to chemical rockets used today. In a typical chemical rocket powered with combustion, approximately 90% of the initial mass is allocated to propellant and only 10% is split between useful payload and structure. The small percentage of mass dedicated to structure makes chemical rockets very risky, with ~4% failure rate, and renders reusability extremely challenging. The fundamental limitation of chemical combustion makes rockets prohibitively expensive with prices ranging from $5,000-50,000 per kg of payload delivered into orbit and significantly limits the opportunities for large scale exploration of space.
EDI’s external propulsion launch system will operate at a specific impulse above 750 s and this breakthrough increase in efficiency reduces the fraction of mass dedicated to propellant to less than 72%. The increase of 3x in the mass fraction dedicated to structure and payload for the first time opens doors for reusability and single-stage-to-orbit flight. Our first generation vehicle is optimized for 100-200 kg payloads and is designed to operate like an airplane: the vehicle flies into orbit, delivers the payload, re-enters the atmosphere after completing one or more orbits around Earth and lands back at the spaceport.
Read more at escapedynamics.com
Fabio Evagelista is a Brazilian writer.
Crossed Paths is the first book of the Myra-Hati trilogy, an epic adventure in a post-apocalyptic world, for the lovers of sci-fi / fantasy genre. This is the author’s first work published in America.