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Pulsar Fusion Fires Up Hybrid Rocket Engine for the First Time, Is a Success

Pulsar Fusion has conducted the first static fire tests of a hybrid rocket engine powered by liquid nitrous oxide (N2O) and high-density polyethylene (HPDE). The ultimate goal of the company is to develop a rocket engine capable of deep space propulsion that can dramatically reduce the time required to travel between cosmic objects.
Pulsar Fusion tests hybrid rocket engine 6 photos
Pulsar Fusion test hybrid rocket engine for the first timePulsar Fusion test hybrid rocket engine for the first timePulsar Fusion hybrid rocket enginePulsar Fusion hybrid rocket enginePulsar Fusion hybrid rocket engine
Pulsar Fusion is a company based in Bletchley, UK that focuses on fusion power rocket thrusters and direct energy transfer from small nuclear reactors. Last week, Pulsar carried out the first static test on a hybrid rocket engine.

The test was conducted in Salisbury at a Ministry of Defence military base. The rocket engine breathed fire at full thrust. The company also released a video of the firing, captured at 40,000 frames per second, which shows the motor in full action.

Compared to solid fuels, the hybrid rocket engine was powered by a mixture of liquid nitrous oxide (N2O) and high-density polyethylene (HPDE). The main advantage of this type of propellant is that it is considered "greener" and has a high specific impulse.

For its latest demonstration, the company used high-density graphite rocket engine throats. Graphite was utilized because the rocket nozzles must withstand great thermal shocks and extreme and sudden temperature changes. Following this recent test, the company plans to carry out an international demonstration of its technology.

Meanwhile, Pulsar has been developing unique prototype thrusters capable of operating plasmas at extremely high temperatures. A krypton gas-powered Pulsar Fusion Hall Effect Thruster (HET) is currently being tested for use on satellites.

The company says that the plasma thrusters are ideal for small spacecraft applications such as precise spacecraft control and low-thrust maneuvering. They can also help increase the satellites' lifespan in orbit.

The first prototype of a nuclear fusion propulsion engine is expected to be tested in 2025.

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