Escape Dynamics, Inc. successfully tests microwave-powered rocket thruster


Escape Dynamics, Inc. announced successful tests of their thruster powered by beamed high power microwave energy, with performance greatly surpassing the limit of chemical combustion rockets.

Specific Impulse (or Isp) is a measure of rocket or jet engine efficiency, much like miles-per-gallon for cars. While chemical rockets top out at around 460s Isp, static thrust tests conducted in the company’s lab in Colorado using helium demonstrated an Isp above 500s. Had hydrogen been used instead of helium, the specific impulse achieved would have been above the 600s threshold required for single-stage-to-orbit operations of a launch vehicle, which is not possible with chemical rockets.

“Our recent tests are a major step forward in the continued advancement of our externally-powered high Isp thruster and validation of our efforts to change the manner of orbital launches” commented Richard F. Schaden, co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Escape Dynamics. Dr. Dmitriy Tseliakhovich, CEO/CTO indicated “We, for the first time, conclusively demonstrated that a new propulsion technology that goes beyond chemical rockets and that can be used for orbital launch works on a lab scale, and we are confident that we can take it to multi-megawatt scales and eventually introduce it into single-stage-to-orbit spaceplanes that will change the way we reach orbit.”

These results are an important milestone in the development of a reusable, single-stage-to-orbit spaceplane which will be a radical game-changer in space access.

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