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CAN THE SPACE INDUSTRY GO GREEN?



Space exploration has long been associated with using fossil fuels to power rockets and satellites. However, the use of such fuels has come under scrutiny in recent years, as concerns over climate change have intensified. As a result, the space industry has begun to explore alternative, greener options for powering space vehicles and equipment. One such alternative is hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) or HTP, a super high quality hydrogen peroxide (above 80%, while most of the time is above 96%) a powerful oxidizer that has been used as a rocket propellant for many years. Unlike traditional rocket fuels like kerosene and liquid hydrogen, hydrogen peroxide does not produce harmful emissions when burned. Instead, it breaks down into water and oxygen, which are harmless to the environment. Hydrogen peroxide has several advantages over traditional rocket fuels. For one, it is non-toxic, which means it can be handled safely without the need for extensive protective gear. It is also relatively easy to store and transport, which makes it a convenient option for use in space.

Several space agencies and private companies have already begun to use hydrogen peroxide as a rocket propellant in a combination with, in general, some grade of alcohol. For example, the European Space Agency (ESA) uses hydrogen peroxide in its Vega rocket, which is used to launch small satellites into orbit.


A well stablished supplier of such HTP propellant is Evonik, the German chemical company, that produce the fluid in aerospace grade (98%) and is widely used in the industry. Other big player in the HTP sector is the Lukasiewikz Institute of Aviation in Poland, that is developing their own hydrogen peroxide for aerospace use at 98% concentration, used for example in the POLON project. In recent years, with the exponential growth of space launches and the need of greener solutions, more and more companies are embracing this green propellant and new players are taking the scene.

Looking ahead, there are projections that the use of hydrogen peroxide as a rocket propellant will continue to grow in the coming years. In fact, some experts predict that hydrogen peroxide could eventually replace traditional rocket fuels altogether. This is due in part to the fact that hydrogen peroxide is a renewable resource, which means it can be produced using sustainable methods.

In addition to its use as a rocket propellant, hydrogen peroxide is also being explored as a potential power source for satellites. Unlike traditional batteries, which rely on chemical reactions to generate power, hydrogen peroxide can be used to power fuel cells. This technology has already been demonstrated on several small-scale satellites, and could eventually be used on larger, more complex satellites as well.

Overall, the use of hydrogen peroxide as a rocket propellant and satellite fuel represents an important step forward in the quest for greener, more sustainable space exploration. As the space industry continues to grow and evolve, it is likely that we will see more and more companies and agencies adopt this technology in the years to come. By doing so, we can help ensure that space exploration remains both safe and environmentally friendly for generations to come.


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