The MHD-Controlled Turbojet Engine: An Alternate Powerplant for Access to Space
One overriding goal of NASA’s Space Flight programs is to provide the means for low-cost access to space. This requirement is critical as the demand for space access by both the US, foreign governments, and private companies (commercial space) is expected to grow. Historically, rocket-powered vehicles have been used as launch vehicles to achieve these objectives. Such vehicles carry both fuel and oxidizer onboard. If an external oxidizer (such as the Earth’s atmosphere) is utilized, the need to carry an onboard oxidizer is eliminated, and future launch vehicles could carry a larger payload into orbit at a fraction of the total fuel expenditure. For this reason, NASA is currently researching the use of airbreathing engines to power the first stage of two-stage-to-orbit launch systems.