American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A two-component rocket propellant, such as liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, fed separately to the combustion chamber as fuel and oxidizer. Also called dipropellant.
“In addition, the carbon monoxide/oxygen bipropellant it produced was a poor quality rocket propellant with a specific impulse of only about 270 seconds.”
“If all the hydrogen is expended cycling the propellant production process through reactions (1) and (2), then each kilogram of hydrogen brought to Mars will have been transformed into 12 kilograms of methane/oxygen bipropellant, with an oxygen-to-methane mixture ratio of 2:1.”
“Burning the bipropellant at such a ratio would provide a specific impulse of about 340 seconds.”
“Though its two propulsion stages will consume some 96 tonnes of methane/oxygen bipropellant on the return flight, the ERV arrives at Mars with its fuel tanks essentially empty, carrying just 6 tonnes of liquid hydrogen propellant production feedstock.”
“Methane/oxygen bipropellant costs about $0.20/kilogram, so $14 of propellant costs will be incurred for every kilogram lifted to orbit.”
“While in principle any bipropellant combination could be used, transportation logistics dictate that at least most of the propellant used be manufactured on Mars out of indigenous materials.”
“As in the standard Mars Direct plan, it would now deploy its reactor and start its propellant plant to turn its 20 tonnes of hydrogen cargo into 332 tonnes of methane/oxygen bipropellant 320 tonnes for the trip back, 12 tonnes for the surface rovers plus 9 tonnes of water.”
“Since the hydrogen component of the bipropellant mixture represents only about 5 percent of the total propellant weight, it can be imported from Earth.”
“In 1976, Professor Robert Ash, now of Old Dominion University, and some JPL collaborators published a paper laying out some extremely simple, robust, and well established (Gaslight Era, to be precise) chemical engineering processes that would produce a methane/oxygen bipropellant on Mars, provided a source of water (H2O) could be found.”
“For example, I estimate that a 1-tonne pressurized ground rover would require about 0.5 kilograms of methane/oxygen bipropellant to travel one kilometer.”
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