After a decade of testing, propylene rocket fuel may be ready for prime time

Enlarge / In May, Vector launched a full-scale prototype of the Vector-R rocket. (credit: Vector)

For a long time Rocket Propellant-1, or RP-1, reigned supreme as the fuel of choice for the first stage of rockets. This highly refined form of kerosene, which was derived from jet fuel, powered the Saturn, Delta, Atlas, Soyuz rockets throughout the 20th century. It even served as fuel for modern rockets like the Falcon 9.

RP-1 has the benefit of being dense, which means a lot of fuel can be...

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