Rocket fuels: an overview?

This data-file profiles five types of rocket fuels, based on data from 100 rockets that have flown over the past 80-years: kerosene, hydrogen, solid fuels, nitrogen tetroxides and an exciting new-comer, LNG.

Although hydrogen provides the greatest specific impulse, a measure of a rocket’s thrust per fuel mass, we actually find a surprising trend away from liquid hydrogen in rocket designs, due to low volumetric density and high complexity.

Most notably, SpaceX and Blue Origin are tilting towards LNG as their fuel-of-choice in the Raptor and BE-4 rockets. The former has cited some amazing chamber pressures (3,900psi) and thrust:weight ratio targets (200).

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