What kind of fuel do spaceships use?



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    All types of rocket fuel are made up of two components: the fuel and the oxidizer. SpaceShipOne is propelled by a mixture of hydroxy-terminated polybutadiene (tire rubber) and nitrous oxide (laughing gas). The rubber acts as the fuel and the laughing gas as the oxidizer. A basic mix is 72% nitrate, 24% carbon and 4% sulfur. During the 1950s and 60s researchers in the United States developed what is now the standard high-energy solid rocket fuel, Ammonium Perchlorate Composite Propellant (APCP). This mixture is primarily ammonium perchlorate powder (an oxidizer), combined with fine aluminium powder (a fuel), held together in a base of PBAN or HTPB (rubber-like fuels). Under the umbrella of chemical propellants which are the most commonly used for rocket fuel, there are solid, liquid, gaseous, and hybrid propellants; though solids are most commonly used.

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