Stardust 1.0: The first rocket to run on biofuel

  • IASbaba
  • February 4, 2021
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Stardust 1.0: The first rocket to run on biofuel

Part of: GS Prelims and GS- III – Sci & Tech

In news 

  • On January 31, Stardust 1.0 was launched from Loring Commerce Centre in Maine, US, a former military base.

Key takeaways

  • 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.

Related articles:

  • How biofuels can double farm incomes: Click here

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