The rockets of the ZEpHyR project
In the first stage of the project ZEpHyR 1 was developed, constructed and successfully launched in April 2016. Since then the second phase of the project started with the goal of a successful launch of the ZEpHyR 2 in 2020. ZEpHyR 2 is an optimized version of the first rocket and it is bigger in size with more thrust than ZEpHyR 1.
What is the innovation?
The innovation of the ZEpHyR rocket is the hybrid rocket engine which uses paraffin and liquid oxygen as propellant, which has not been flown in Europe before. It is environmental friendly, compared to other sounding rockets with solid propellants, which produce e.g. chlorine, hydrogen chloride, sulphur compounds among others. Furthermore it is possible to replace paraffin with non-petrochemical alternatives. In addition to its eco-friendly properties, the reason for choosing a combination of paraffin and liquid oxygen is a high regression rate that other hybrid engines do not achieve. That leads to the relative high thrust during 25 seconds of burning time with the comparatively small engine.