From Moo to Moon: Japan test fires cow-dung-powered rocket engine

By: | December 19th, 2023

Image by Pixabay

Bio-methane derived from cow dung holds promise as a solution for building a more sustainable future.

A Japanese space start-up Interstellar Technologies Inc (IST) made waves on December 7 by successfully testing a rocket engine powered solely by cow-dung-derived fuel. This innovative approach to propulsion technology paves the way for a more sustainable future in space exploration.

The test utilized “biomethane” derived from cow manure gathered from nearby dairy farms, showcasing the dual benefits for both space exploration and agriculture.

The company performed a series of “Static Fire Tests” for the ZERO launch vehicle rocket at Launch Complex-0 in Taiki, situated within the Hokkaido Spaceport. The experiment featured a 10-second burst of a blue-and-orange flame.

Interstellar Technologies has successfully developed this environmentally friendly and cost-effective fuel in partnership with Air Water. This innovative initiative engaged farmers in processing manure into biogas through an automated system, with Air Water then transforming it into rocket fuel.

This innovative approach could address both space exploration and the environmental impact of agriculture, responsible for 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to Greenpeace.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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