RJ Pierce, Tech Times
Honda announced that they just test-fired their first-ever reusable rocket prototype, reports Space.com.
(Photo : Peter Fox/Getty Images)
LE CASTELLET, FRANCE – JUNE 19: Scuderia AlphaTauri sidepod with new Honda logo during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on June 19, 2021 in Le Castellet, France.
The automaking giant recently revealed that they’d developed their first reusable rocket prototype at the tail-end of October, which they say was developed within two years.
The rocket is part of Honda’s long-term plan to develop other technologies aside from making cars. They’re investing a total of $45 billion to do so until the 2030s.
And with this rocket, they’re aiming to join the growing commercial space race.
Honda revealed that they’ve already performed the test fire in a Zoom call with select media members last Oct. 28. In it, they shared a short video of the reusable rocket performing a combustion test.
Apparently, the rocket is supersonic due to the presence of so-called “Mach Diamonds” in its exhaust.
Mach Diamonds are diamond-shaped formations in the plumes of a rocket that are common in supersonic exhausts. In other words, Honda’s reusable rocket is powerful enough to break the sound barrier–hence, the Mach designation.
Here is what Mach Diamonds look like:
Aside from the short video of the combustion test, Honda didn’t provide more details about the engine itself.
All that is known about the rocket is that Honda built it while applying their current technologies for remote control, guidance, combustion, and fluid onto it, reports SpaceNews.
Reusable rockets are some hot “thing” in the space exploration industry right now. It’s mainly due to how much they can drive launch costs down.
The reasons are obvious–if you can reuse a rocket instead of throwing it away, you don’t spend another few billion to build a new one for the next mission.
Read also: SpaceX Reusable Rockets: Falcon, Other Spacecraft Essential to ‘Back Up Biosphere’ Says Elon Musk
What Does Honda Plan To Do With It?
As previously mentioned, the reusable rocket prototype is part of Honda’s massive $45 billion investment into other technologies other than making cars–robots, rockets, and even flying cars among them.
With the rocket, Honda hopes to enter the booming commercial space industry, which is being led by the likes of Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, to name a few.
The Japanese automaker’s supersonic rocket is apparently designed to bring payloads as heavy as 1 ton into low Earth orbit in the future. But what those payloads could be aren’t known as of yet.
(Photo : Getty Images )
It’s Not Just Rockets That Honda Wants To Deal With
Honda wants to get in the space exploration business, and they’re already partnering with the right organizations.
One of these is the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). According to a JAXA press release, the agency announced a collaboration with Honda in June to co-develop a so-called circulative renewable energy system.
With this tech, Honda aims to help make off-world missions easier. They hope to use the system to support rovers and off-world human outposts, say, on the moon or even Mars.
Lastly, the automaker’s robotics research can also have space applications–though they haven’t revealed much of their plans in this area yet.
Related: NASA Releases Video Of WILD, Sci-Fi-Like Space Exploration Concepts–Which Ones Can Come True?
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Written by RJ Pierce
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