Water as Fuel for Spacecraft!

Hydrogen has been used for some time in space technology as a fuel. In the meantime, this technology is becoming increasingly widespread on Earth too.For example, a hydrogen train is running in Germany, while the Japanese manufacturer Toyota sees it as the engine of the future for automobiles.But back into space: Water has long been regarded as potentially very important raw material. Because water molecules can be split into oxygen and hydrogen  the one man needs to breathe, the other could serve the drive of the rockets. The Russian engineer Mikhail Kokoritsch, who has emigrated to the USA, goes one step further: He wants to propel rockets directly with water. The splitting would then no longer necessary.

Water is cheap and easy to find

Simply put, his idea, also known as a thermal arc engine, works as follows: Power is used to generate a plasma that strongly heats the water. Subsequently, the hot steam exits through a nozzle and thus generates the propulsion. The advantage of this technique is that extremely fast thrust is generated. At the same time, however, a permanent use should be ensured in order to be able to bridge larger distances. Water also lends itself as a fuel, because it is relatively cheap and easy to find. To make his concept a reality, Kokoritsch has now founded a startup called Momentus. He was also able to win first supporters. So he is part of the Seed-Accelerator Y Combinator.

Next year, the first satellite will start

Concrete plans for the future already exist. So a contract was concluded with the European company ECM Space. Together, the two companies want to bring a small satellite with water engine into space next year. This so-called “Zeal” drive is later to form the basis for commercial products. The possible applications for such a novel drive are theoretically very diverse. So t could be used in space probes and contribute to the further exploration of the universe. It is also conceivable, however, that projects to remove space debris rely on water as fuel. However, this is still a dream of the future. First, Momentus has to prove that the interesting approach is actually workable.