Japan Tests Space Rocket Propelled By Shock Waves, Hits 146 Miles In 4 Minutes

[Click here to view the video in this article]

Image via ISAS / JAXA

On Tuesday, July 27, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully tested out a new rocket engine propelled with cutting edge propulsion technology. Vehicle No. 31 of the S-520 sounding rocket series lifted off from the Kagoshima Prefecture’s Uchinoura Space Center.

The technology behind this launch utilizes shock waves to propel the spacecraft, which are produced by burning a mixture of methane and oxygen. This comes as a refresh to the usual mixtureof fuel and oxidizer in a liquid rocket, and mixture of solid propellants compressed into cylinders for solid rockets.

Described as a “powerful single-stage rocket”, the S-520 is capable of launching a 100kg (220.4lb) payload, double of its predecessor, the K-9M. It’s also equipped with three-axis altitude control and a recovery system. It’s one of JAXA’s three sounding rockets, alongside the S-310 and SS-520, a two-stage unit incorporating the S-520’s main booster.

During the most recent launch, No. 31 reached 235km (146 miles) in altitude in just over four minutes and four seconds after launch, before landing in the sea southeast of the launch site approximately eight minutes later, the Japan Times reports.

Watch the launch below:

[via The Japan Times, image via ISAS / JAXA] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414960/Japan-Tests-Space-Rocket-Propelled-By-Shock-Waves-Hits-146-Miles-In-4-Minutes/

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