Arca Space is testing a new water-fueled rocket, but is it efficient?
We all know that rockets are powerful, complicated, huge, and sometimes not good for the environment. The Space Shuttle had those 2 giant boosters, and they polluted way more than you would think. A lot of rockets like the Russian Soyuz Rocket, the ULA Atlas V Rocket, and even the SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy Rocket, use toxic Kerosene as fuel and could release as much pollution as 700,000 gasoline-powered cars running at the same time. Some rockets pollute less, and some pollute more.
This company, Arca Space, is creating a futuristic new rocket concept, powered not by your average fuel, it's powered by water. No, not LH2 and LOX, WATER! It has a water tank that is used as fuel. The water gets heated up to about 500 degrees F in a high-pressure tank, which is then shot into the also high-pressure combustion chamber and shot out of the nozzle as mostly steam. This rocket can only produce about 7 tons of force at the moment, but this will improve as time goes by. Rocket Lab's small electron rocket and Arca Space's water rocket produce about the same amount of thrust. Arca Space is most likely using an Aerospike engine for this rocket, as their sensors detected that it was at least 15% more efficient than the standard bell nozzle rocket engine, but we are not completely sure if they will use the bell nozzle version at all.
It is unclear when this water rocket will actually fly, as it still needs to undergo a lot more testing. This water rocket is also planned to land itself, much like what SpaceX's rocket boosters do today.
Currently, our normal rockets are MUCH more powerful than this water rocket, but this could change fast, as Arca Space can find new methods of producing more thrust, while using nearly the same amount as fuel.