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tbzep
02-16-2012, 09:35 AM
I was reading about the upcoming Atlas 5 launch on Spaceflight Now.com and ran across something interesting. The RD-180 uses the standard kerosene-LOX fuel, but the article says it's hypergolic. I've never seen that comment about kero-LOX before.

Joe Wooten
02-16-2012, 10:04 AM
Written by an ignorant reporter or PR flack. LOX-Kerosene is not hypergolic. It requires an igniter.

Chas Russell
02-16-2012, 10:14 AM
I read the same article and take it to mean that it is an ignition system utilizing hypergolics to provide the heat source for the LOX/kerosene RD-180, as opposed to some sort of squib system or electrical/spark.

Beats, "Light the fuse and run!".

Hopefully we will get a more accurate answer.

Chas

ghrocketman
02-16-2012, 10:19 AM
I for one would like to see MODEL rocketry using hypergolic propellants !

CPMcGraw
02-16-2012, 10:54 AM
Here's the piece of the article from SFN:

Featuring hypergolic ignition, the engine produces 860,000 pounds of thrust and is throttled up and down to ease the stresses the rocket experiences throughout the launch. And its dual nozzles provides superior steering control during the climb out.

It's a lot easier to start engines this way. No mechanical or electrical systems to deal with beyond valve control. SpaceX's Merlins use this method, too. They use TEA-TEB, and it produces a green(ish) flame when burning alone.

ghrocketman
02-16-2012, 12:28 PM
TEA-TEB seems perfectly reasonable for home-brew hypergolic MODEL rocketry as well.
They should carry the compounds at the corner drug store.