Cheaper, lighter, more efficient space missions with a Rotating Detonation Engine by Detonation Space.

Dilya Zhanispayeva
May 11 · 4 min read

Right now the technology used by rockets, aircrafts, cars, boats, and basically any vehicle that we know, is the internal combustion engine — a technology that hasn’t changed much since it was first introduced back in the 19th century. It has a number of limitations, mainly high fuel expenditure, which leads to high operating costs and limits payload capabilities of a vehicle.

For more than a decade scientists have been exploring ways to increase the efficiency of thrust (fuel to energy ratio). All the research has been mostly centered around improvements into the existing combustion engine, in other words, looking at ways to improve or upgrade the old technology. Today this might all become unnecessary, as detonation engines, a completely new and disruptive propulsion technology, seem to be the ultimate solution to this dilemma.

Detonation engines might become the most powerful engines to date.

The global scientific community, including NASA, the US Navy, and a number of universities, are investing huge resources into the research and development of detonation engines. Still the progress of detonation engine research remains at a level of numerical studies and tests.

Our team at Detonation Space has been studying detonation engines for more than 6 years. We have built and tested a working prototype of a detonation engine — Lundet-7 by Detonation Space, which is a patent-pending proprietary technology of Detonation Space, Inc.

We set a goal to become the first ever company to commercialize this promising and exciting technology!

To start, let us present to you the advantages of a detonation engine (when compared to an internal combustion engine). Mainly, it is the efficiency of thrust: detonation engines create more energy from less fuel. As a result, detonation engines are:

  1. Fuel efficient (thus, cost efficient)
  2. Lightweight
  3. Simpler to build (less complicated architecture)

An internal combustion engine converts thermal energy of a burning fuel into mechanical energy that powers a vehicle. Basically, combustion is a process of mixing fuel with oxygen, which creates mini explosions. The gas and heat from those explosions are used to fire up the engine by exerting a pushing force, thrust, on parts of the engine, making them move. A combustion-type engine requires a complicated engine design as well as big amounts of fuel to support this process.

Stock image

Detonation engines work with different thermodynamic models. Thanks to this thermodynamic cycle, which is called the ZND cycle, the throughput level can be 30% higher than conventional rocket engines. Because of this cycle combustion chamber is pressure gain combustor and, pressure levels higher than the supply pressure may meet within the combustion chamber. Thanks to these features, they are much more advantageous than conventional liquid fuel rocket engines. The reduction in the need for pressurization provides a reduction in the weight of the pressurization tank or turbopump to be used in the spacecraft. Thanks to the work gain from the thermodynamic cycle, the thrust value obtained per unit fuel weight increases.

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Robert-Driscoll-7/publication/304999548/figure/fig5/AS:614343876046851@1523482402388/T-s-diagram-for-the-Ideal-PDE-Brayton-and-Humphrey-Cycles-Heiser-and-Pratt-2002_W640.jpg

Detonation engines are more complex in thermodynamical terms, but are simpler in mechanical terms meaning that they are less complicated and less difficult to build than combustion type engines.

The main highlight of detonation engines is that they allow us to cut down fuel expenses and vehicle’s weight because they release more energy from less fuel.

Our Lundet-7 engine proves to use 30% less fuel and decrease weight by 40%.

By using less fuel we can make rockets fly longer distances and carry more payloads.

We as a company focus on making the most efficient engines for aerospace and aviation industries. Our belief is that we are not only producing high quality product for aerospace and aviation industries, but also contributing to the overall growth and development of those industries by breaking the vertical integration business model.

If we look at the aircraft industry — companies like Boeing and United Airlines do not produce engines themselves. They purchase engines from companies that specialize in engine development instead. This allows them to outsource the technically-heavy process to concentrate on their main mission: transporting goods and people from one destination to another.

Our Lundet-7 engine has been crafted specifically for use in spacecrafts. However, in the next 5–10 years we plan to use our soon-to-be patented baseline technology to produce super efficient engines for aircrafts, drones, and missiles. Planes and drones will have longer flight times and will be able to carry more weight!

Detonation Space Inc.

Detonation Space Inc.

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