Stardust 1.0: The first rocket to run on biofuel
Part of: GS Prelims and GS- III – Sci & Tech
- On January 31, Stardust 1.0 was launched from Loring Commerce Centre in Maine, US, a former military base.
- It became the first commercial space launch powered by biofuel, which is non-toxic for the environment as opposed to traditionally used rocket fuel.
- Stardust 1.0 is a launch vehicle suited for student and budget payloads.
- The rocket is 20 feet tall and has a mass of roughly 250 kg.
- The rocket can carry a maximum payload mass of 8 kg.
- These rockets will help to launch small satellites called cubesats into space in a way that is relatively cheaper than using traditional rocket fuel and is less toxic for the environment.
Important value additions
- Biofuels are obtained from biomass, which can be converted directly into liquid fuels that can be used as transportation fuels.
- The two most common kinds of biofuels in use today are ethanol and biodiesel.
- They both represent the first generation of biofuel technology.
- Ethanol is renewable and made from different kinds of plant materials.
- Biodiesel is produced by combining alcohol with new and used vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled cooking grease.
Do you know?
- Other companies are working towards making access to space easier.
- One of them is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s Space Company called Blue Origin.
- Last year in October, the company tested a rocket system called New Shephard.
- The rocket system is meant to take tourists to space eventually and offers flights to space over 100 km above Earth and accommodation for payloads.
- Such efforts are a part of a growing number of commercial space companies that are working to provide easier and cheaper access to space to laypeople and also to make access to space cost-effective for purposes of academic research, corporate technology development, and entrepreneurial ventures among others.
- How biofuels can double farm incomes: Click here