Space is a 'contested environment' says Daniel Ceperley
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Pulsar Fusion Ltd, a UK nuclear fusion company based in Bletchley, is developing green rocket technology that could eventually send humans to distances further than our Solar System. Nuclear fusion is the energy process that powers the stars which scientists have been scrambling to create on Earth to produce unlimited supplies of low-carbon, low-radiation energy.
This could play an incredibly important role in the UK as the Government presses ahead with its net zero targets while seeking to slash its dependence on foreign imports.
Pulsar has claimed that this could be “the answer to the energy crisis”.
Bur Pulsar is also seeking to harness the process of nuclear fusion in space with its nuclear fusion reactors, which it says could enable rockets to access travel to planets beyond our solar system.
As fusion rocket technology only works in the vacuum of space, Pulsar has had to develop hybrid rocket engines, which it has been testing.
The latest blasts took place at the Westcott Space Cluster’s National Space Propulsion Test Facility on March 15 and 16.
These lay the groundwork for the Pulsar’s hyper-speed propulsion engines, which could even slash the journey time from Earth to Mars by half, according to scientists.
According to Pulsar CEO Richard Dinan, the firm is looking to use this technology to launch its nuclear fusion reactors into space.
The first prototype for the propulsion engine is expected by 2025.
Mr Dinan, said: “This is truly a groundbreaking moment taking place on British soil and could be the first innovative steps to transforming not only modern space travel but also how this planet consumes its energy.
“Our tests last year were a great success and paved the way for firing in the UK. These tests are hugely significant and we are proud that this rocket is built completely in Britain.
“To have a British rocket test run by a private company in the UK is extremely rare.”
The rocket tests have been using a process where a ‘green’ (non-toxic) hybrid engine combusts nitrous oxide (N2O) oxidiser and high-density polyethene (HDPE) fuel and oxygen.
Mr Dinan spoke to Express.co.uk back in November, following the first rocket test from UK soil.
He said: “This is quite rare in rockets, to create a clean engine.
“We built them at record speeds and it’s a really great engine to be manufacturing
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“It is ideal for getting people from the ground to space, and it’s fine for moving satellites around in space and for space tourism, it’s powerful enough to do that.”
Mr Dinan also said that Pulsar Fusion is now hoping to raise £200million to build “very significant” tests, and said that it does not need to team up support from big American companies like Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin or Elon Musk’s SpaceX to rely on success.
He told Express.co.uk: “We have created an awful lot of value on a small amount of investment.
“We don’t feel the need to hand this over to the big American companies.”
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