Virgin’s nitrous oxide-fuelled rocket successfully tested


Just weeks before we paused to celebrate the 40th anniversary of man landing on the Moon, Sir Richard Branson’s space-tourism operation, Virgin Galactic, had announced successful passenger rocket tests.

Recent weeks had seen Virgin Galactic announce successful tests of the rocket motor it will use to launch fare-paying passengers out of the Earth’s atmosphere.

The Saturn V spacecraft used to take man to the Moon in July 1969 was fuelled by millions of litres of RP-1 rocket fuel (kerosene), liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.

Continuing the involvement of industrial gases in space exploration, the Virgin Galactic rocket is propelled by a hybrid mixture of tyre rubber and nitrous oxide gas, otherwise known as ‘laughing gas’.

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