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Green Fuel: Getting Ready for Lift Off
By Michael Schweibinz

Boulder, Colorado-based Ball Aerospace has developed a new “green” rocket fuel that will almost certainly propel the future of space flight to new heights.

Two years ago, NASA granted Ball Aerospace $45 million to develop a high-performance, non-toxic alternative to hydrazine (standard rocket fuel). The result is a new fuel composed of hydroxyl ammonium nitrate which has surpassed goals in a lab environment to power the thrusters on NASA missions. The green fuel, “AF-M315E, produced 27 Newton’s of force. The craft's main thruster for this mission only requires 22 Newton’s.”

Ball reports that their new, more environmentally friendly fuel performs 50% better compared to standard rocket fuel; and better performance is just one of the many positive externalities. Other trickle down effects include “reduced environmental impact and operational hazards, improved launch processing capabilities, increased payload capacity, enhanced spacecraft maneuverability, and the possibility of longer duration missions.”

NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) aims to successfully test this new green fuel in orbit before the end of next year.

This project exemplifies how green alternatives are often more efficient and cost effective than typical methods. Whether it’s green building techniques or rocket fuel innovation, the effects of an environmentally conscious business are widespread—a better society, profit, and planet, or in this case, universe.

 

At First Affirmative, we understand that the ways we save, spend, and invest can dramatically influence both the fabric and consciousness of society. We believe that in addition to the benefits of ownership, investors bear responsibility for the impact our money has in the world. Are you making conscious decisions about the impact of your consumer purchase and investment decisions?

 

Mention of specific companies or securities should not be considered an endorsement or a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Posted: April 23, 2014