Encyclopedia Astronautica
Air/Slush LH2


Ambient air (78 % nitrogen, 21% oxygen, etc.) is scooped up by air intakes and used in turbojet, turbofan, ramjet, scramjet, or other airbreathing engines as an oxidiser. Slush hydrogen is formed by taking liquid hydrogen down to nearly the melting point. This produces a partly-solidified but still mobile version of the fuel with 20% greater density than liquid hydrogen itself. Proposed for use from the 1980's in air-breathing and rocket-powered single-stage-to-orbit vehicles where maximization of fuel weight to empty weight is absolutely essential.

Oxidizer: Air. Fuel: Slush LH2. Fuel Density: 0.085 g/cc. Fuel Freezing Point: -259 deg C. Fuel Boiling Point: -259 deg C.

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Associated Engines
  • Scramjet Scramjet engine for X-30 SSTO. 1372.9 kN. Development ended 1992. Thrust is maximum sea level thrust; specific impulse is average during ascent. Isp=1550s. Propellant Slush LH2. More...

Associated Stages
  • Tu-2000 Airbreathing Slush LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 90,000/40,000 kg. Thrust 882.00 kN. Specific impulse 1550 seconds. Aerospaceplane to compete with American X-30. Single stage to orbit, scramjet air breather. Tupolev assigned to start work in 1993. Mockup built, and some subscale flights to Mach 6 on tactical missiles of scramjet model, but project now dormant due to lack of funds. Wing area 160 square meters, wing sweep 70 degrees. Two crew. More...
  • X-30 Scramjet/Slush LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 140,000/60,000 kg. Thrust 1,370.00 kN. Specific impulse 1550 seconds. More...

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