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Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have reported progress in the development of an environment-friendly propellant to power satellites and spacecraft.
FACTS FOR PRELIMS
Due to its high-performance characteristics, hydrazine has dominated the space industry as the choice of propellant for over six decades, despite its environmental and health hazards and the challenges faced in its manufacturing, storage, ground handling and transportation.
The effort is to replace the conventional hydrazine rocket fuel, a highly toxic and carcinogenic chemical, with a greener propellant for future missions.
A HAN-based monopropellant has been formulated and a variety of tests have been carried out to investigate its characteristics, like thermal and catalytic decomposition and compatibility with different materials.
A monopropellant is a chemical propulsion fuel which does not require a separate oxidizer. It is used extensively in satellite thrusters for orbital correction and orientation control.
The in-house formulation consists of HAN, ammonium nitrate, methanol and water.