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“Self-eating” Rocket Wins UK Ministry of Defence Funding

7 Oct 2020, 14:58 UTC
“Self-eating” Rocket Wins UK Ministry of Defence Funding
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GLASGOW, Scotland (University of Glasgow PR) — A ‘self-eating’ rocket engine which aims to put small payloads into orbit by burning its own structure as propellant has won financial support from the UK Government.

The Defence & Security Accelerator (DASA), part of the Ministry of Defence, has pledged £90,000 [$116,080] for further development of the autophage engine, which is being built at the University of Glasgow’s James Watt School of Engineering. The development team hope that this new rocket could create launch opportunities at the spaceports emerging across the northern regions of the UK.

Autophage engines have already been test-fired by the Glasgow team using all-solid propellant. The new funding will underwrite the research required to use a more energetic hybrid propellant: a solid tube of fuel containing a liquid oxidiser. The engine will be test-fired at Kingston University in London’s new rocket laboratory in London next year.

Dr Patrick Harkness, of the James Watt School of Engineering, said: “We’re thrilled to have DASA in support of the autophage programme. The new propellants will take us closer to viability, because they contain enough energy to reach orbit in a smaller launch vehicle.

“The specific payloads we are targeting include the ...

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