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Crisp, 28 Jan 2013
Posted 28 Jan 2013
Fuel depots are the future IMO, enabling exploration gateways, space docks etc. etc. The problem is using them with liquid oxygen and hydrogen, which are cryogenic, and hydrogen tends to boil off if it warms at all.
There is also the problem of using 2 fuels, meaning 2 tanks, 2 sets of plumbing, 2 sets of seals. Twice as many places for leaks. Another method would be the continued use of noni-cryo hypergollic fuels, but they're toxic as hell.
Sounds like a place for s single fluid propellant system to simplify matters. For ion or plasma engines this is the rule - argon, xenon etc. and not much of it, but you need big solar arrays or a reactor to power them..
Another possibility is NOFBX, which gets tested as ISS after being taken up on a Dragon spacecrat. It's a blend if nitrous oxide, a light hydrocarbon like acetylene or ethane, and a mix of stabilizing additives.
Here is a video regarding the subject:
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