Florida researchers have teamed up with Honeybee Robotics to develop a prototype of a small spacecraft powered by… steam. The concept is that such a vehicle will draw fuel directly from the asteroids, planets and moons it explores. In this way, the ship will theoretically be able to operate indefinitely.
The use of steam to propel the spacecraft was made possible by coohe cooperation of a private company and the University of Central Florida. Contributing to this was scientist Phil Metzger and the company Honeybee Robotics of California, whoseora is engaged in developing technology for comical gornictwa.
Thanks to their supportoThe collaboration has developed a prototype spacecraft „World Is Not Enough” (in the scro(WINE). The concept is that the ship will mohead to extract water from asteroids and other celestial bodies, ktore will explore to generate steam and move to the next location where refueling is possible.
The university has provided insights into the conditions of ktoin the prevailing conditions on asteroids. Metzger made the necessary calculations and computer simulations. Eventually, Honeybee Robotics built a prototype of the device and a steam-powered engine and tested it on a simulated asteroid surface in California.
Using a compact drilling rig, the spacecraft successfully extracted water from the fake comet and converted it into fuel and launched it into the air using a set of engineow powered by steam.
– It’s amazing. WINE has been able to extract water, convert it into fuel and fly further – mowi Metzger. According to him, the technology can be used for suborbitalolive m.in. to the Moon, Europa, Titan, Pluto, Mercury and other places in space where theohe water is located and the gravity is low enough.
WINE is the size of a microwave oven. It is intended to extract water from the surface of celestial bodies and then turn it into water vapor, arriving at the next object on ktom processoHEADS REPEATolaunch. Theoretically, then, moheads would fly indefinitely.
While steam propulsion tends to be associated with old locomotives, the technology behind WINE is much more complex. Researchers have developed several configurations of the ship. The energy to extract the water and generate the steam could give zaroBoth solar panels and nuclear reactors. The latter would enable the podroThat far beyond the Solar System. Metzger has been developing the technology for three years. Developed new rownania and computer programs to estimate the power of the steam-based propulsion system.
Implementation of a similar device could have a significant impact on space exploration. Now the ship’s missionsoin space end due to lack of sufficient fuel.
– With every space mission, we lose mnostwo of time and money. WINE is designed to never run out of fuel. Thanks to this podroThat spaceflight will be much cheaper – Metzger stated. The project was developed as part of a NASA program, ktory encourages universities and the private sector to invest in new technological solutions thatore then able to bring to market.
Honeybee Robotics Vice President Kris Zacny considers the program a huge success. – WINE-like spacecraft have the potential to change the way we explore the universe – acknowledged. syndromeoł is currently looking for a partneroin whichoers would like to join the project and pomoc in the development of new technology.