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Industry & Technology

After a decade of testing, propylene rocket fuel may be ready for prime time

Ars Technica - September 25, 2018 - 2:21pm

Enlarge / In May, Vector launched a full-scale prototype of the Vector-R rocket. (credit: Vector)

For a long time, Rocket Propellant-1, or RP-1, reigned supreme as the fuel of choice for the first stage of rockets. This highly refined form of kerosene, which was derived from jet fuel, powered the Saturn, Delta, Atlas, and Soyuz rockets throughout the 20th century. It even served as fuel for modern rockets like the Falcon 9.

RP-1 has the benefit of being dense, which means a lot of fuel can be packed into a relatively small tank. However, RP-1 isn't the most efficient fuel, a measurement known as specific impulse. Liquid hydrogen, by contrast, has a really high specific impulse. But because it is not at all dense, it can't efficiently be used as a first stage fuel.

This is one reason a number of major new rocket engines developed during the last decade, including SpaceX's Raptor and Blue Origin's BE-4 engines, have been designed to use methane as a fuel. It represents a compromise between RP-1 and hydrogen—not quite as dense as the former, and with not quite as high of a specific impulse as the latter. Methane is also useful if you want to go to Mars, because it is relatively abundant in the Red Planet's thin atmosphere and could be used to refuel an ascent vehicle.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Tinder tests new feature for women in India

BBC Technology News - September 25, 2018 - 2:19pm
The dating platform is testing letting women take control of sending the first message to a match.

Should gammon slur be banned on Twitter?

BBC Technology News - September 25, 2018 - 2:18pm
Twitter asks its members to help shape new rules banning "dehumanising speech".

Amazon Echo Dot deal: Just $23 - CNET

cNET.com - News - September 25, 2018 - 2:13pm
It's used, but still the cheapest Dot to date.

Fujifilm's $4,500 GFX 50R hits a new low price for medium format - CNET

cNET.com - Reviews - September 25, 2018 - 2:00pm
The company's eagerly awaited "affordable" version of its GFX 50S trims features you probably won't miss -- and a couple you might.

Samsung, Bosch, LG lead in the eternal race to fill your home with appliances - CNET

cNET.com - News - September 25, 2018 - 2:00pm
A survey of 250,000 people have made their appliance alliances.

Yale smart locks get the August treatment with new kit - CNET

cNET.com - News - September 25, 2018 - 2:00pm
Assa Abloy acquired August last year, and now we're getting a look at what that means for Yale and August smart locks.

Mac users get to join the OneDrive Files On-Demand festivities

The Register - September 25, 2018 - 1:53pm
Because there ain't no party like a cloud storage party

A year after Microsoft reintroduced placeholders for Windows users of OneDrive in the form of "Files On-Demand", Mac users of the cloudy file service are getting the same love.…

Japan’s mini space elevator goes to space - CNET

cNET.com - News - September 25, 2018 - 1:45pm
And we have liftoff!

YouTube channel owner 'arrested over child sex abuse'

BBC Technology News - September 25, 2018 - 1:43pm
BuzzFeed claims to have a warrant suggesting the British national, 55, was arrested during a video shoot.

Turns out download speed isn't everything when streaming video on your smartphone

The Register - September 25, 2018 - 1:26pm
Someone should tell mobile industry. Oh, here we go

The Czech Republic and Hungary top the world for mobile video performance – even though they don't have the fastest networks.…

Instagram founders Systrom and Krieger leaving Facebook-owned firm

BBC Technology News - September 25, 2018 - 1:17pm
The departure of Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger is the latest test for parent company Facebook.

Five major features your Android phone sorely needs - CNET

cNET.com - News - September 25, 2018 - 1:00pm
A decade after Google brought us Android, these fixes are still MIA.

Uber's Skyports are the gateway to on-demand air travel - CNET

cNET.com - News - September 25, 2018 - 1:00pm
Fancy hopping across the city in your own air taxi? UberAir could be your answer. And to get you to your aircraft, Uber is planning on building a network of skyports to help you board in style.

Volkswagen's MEB platform underpins a new generation of electric cars - Roadshow

cNET.com - News - September 25, 2018 - 1:00pm
By 2025, Volkswagen expects to sell 1 million MEB-based EVs.

Telltale Games may finish The Walking Dead's final season after all - CNET

cNET.com - News - September 25, 2018 - 12:57pm
The developer could have help in releasing the last two episodes of Clementine's story despite its shutdown.

DWP CIO and chief digi officer Mayank Prakash quits

The Register - September 25, 2018 - 12:52pm
Joins growing list of senior civil servants leaving public sector

Exclusive Mayank Prakash, chief digital officer and CIO of the UK Department for Work and Pensions has quit today, The Register can exclusively reveal.…

Labour conference: 'Nationalise the internet' call rejected

BBC Technology News - September 25, 2018 - 12:27pm
But Labour's Angela Eagle says tech giants should work for the "common good" and not just profit.

Linux kernel's 'seat warmer' drops 4.19-rc5 with – wow – little drama

The Register - September 25, 2018 - 12:17pm
Except that Eric S Raymond doesn't like codes of conduct

Speculation and debate still surround Linus Torvald's decision to step back from Linux kernel development for a while, but the next kernel release candidate landed with far less sturm und drang.…

Compare these iPhone XS vs. iPhone X photos - CNET

cNET.com - News - September 25, 2018 - 12:00pm
Think there's no difference between the cameras on the iPhone XS and iPhone X? See for yourself.

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