Thanks to determined minds like Elon Musk and companies like SpaceX, people are now more excited about space travel and space tourism. However, one problem looming over the industry is the rising prices of the rocket fuel, among other things. Stardust, the first biofuel-based rocket from a Maine-based company, could be a solution to the dilemma, though. On Sunday, the company tested the Stardust rocket, which lifted off successfully becoming the first commercial rocket powered by fuel derived from biomaterials. The company says that its biofuel-based rockets are designed to make space travel accessible for everyone. However, it’s not just about the bio-derived fuel that they use.
Stardust is the first rocket from bluShift Aerospace, the firm behind designing the hybrid engine. This rocket has a total weight of 550lbs and is just 20ft long. Because of such specifications, the design does not require high-end infrastructure for take-off procedure. Similarly, since the device uses custom-made biofuel, it can bring the costs down to a great extent. Sascha Deri, the founder and CEO of the company, has worked on the project for more than six years, and he is not ready to disclose what the biofuel is made of. However, he maintains that the biofuel can easily be created, collecting raw materials from familiar spaces. He also adds that the rocket fuel is entirely non-toxic.
The success of the Stardust rocket from bluShift Aerospace means two important things. First, it can enable easy space travel for almost everyone, especially students and researchers who can’t spend millions carrying out experiments on space. Sascha Deri says that the Stardust rockets will be an ideal solution to conduct as many experiments as we want without worrying about hefty costs while maintaining superior control over the projects. Second, bluShift addresses one of the least addressed issues in the aerospace industry: the case of carbon emissions. As said earlier, the Stardust rocket uses biofuel that is non-toxic and does not contribute to the carbon footprint on the planet.
Aptly enough, the founder says that Stardust rockets will be the Uber service to space. It means the Maine-based company does not want to compete with the likes of SpaceX or ULA, at least for the time being. The company considers these big names as freight trains to space, carrying thousands of pounds of weight to the unchartered areas. However, bluShift Aerospace wants to address the demographics that wish to send the smaller packages to space. These packages could be as little as a few kilograms as per the specific needs of the project. For instance, the rockets from the company would be the perfect solution to launch small-sized satellites, including CubeSats.
Considering how popular these satellite types are becoming over time, bluShift Aerospace is very optimistic about its future. Because of this optimism and based on its success with the Stardust rocket, the company has plans to expand its fleet of rockets in the coming years. The first one of those upgrades will be reaching a suborbital path, and the third one, called Red Dwarf, will be powerful enough to get the polar orbit. It is worth noting that the Stardust rocket launched on Sunday, managed to reach only a mile into the sky. The company, however, managed to parachute the same rocket successfully.
All these rockets will be using the current or an improved version of the biofuel, answering all possible doubts regarding the environmental-friendliness of the projects. The successful launch of the Stardust rocket comes at one of the ideal times in the space industry, though. Although dragged a little by the ongoing pandemic issues, the world of space travel and cargoes are expected to skyrocket in the coming years. Some studies had noted that small satellite launches would alone bring revenues of up to $69 billion, which is not a tiny figure.
In light of these studies, bluShift Aerospace believes that it could be home to 40 new jobs in the next half-decade. During the period, the company would be staying in Maine, which supposedly has all the resources to carry out the projects capable through the biofuel rockets. The founder of bluShift also mentions the location’s geographical advantage when accessing the polar orbit, making it an elegant solution for multiple problems at once.