HYPERGOLIC ROCKET PROPELLENTS

Hypergolic propellants are used in space shuttles and rockets. The main advantage of hypergolic propellant is the absence of the need of an ignition system. In hypergolic rockets the ignition is achieved by mixing fuel and oxidizer. Upon contact with each other the mixture starts burning. This is a great advantage for spacecraft which needs many start stop operation of its engines during manoeuvring.

One of the hypergolic combination is Methylhydrazine as the fuel and dinitrogen tetroxide as oxidizer. Starting of the engine is achieved by control valves releasing fuel and oxidizer which get mixed with each other and ignite.

The Space Shuttle Discovery and its seven-memb...
The Space Shuttle Discovery and its seven-member STS-120 crew head toward Earth-orbit and a scheduled link-up with the International Space Station. Liftoff from Kennedy Space Center’s launch pad 39A occurred at 11:38:19 a.m. (EDT). Onboard are astronauts Pam Melroy, commander; George Zamka, pilot; Scott Parazynski, Stephanie Wilson, Doug Wheelock, European Space Agency’s (ESA) Paolo Nespoli and Daniel Tani, all mission specialists. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Methylhydrazine is a highly toxic, flammable and corrosive liquid whereas dinitrogen tetroxide is a liquefied, non-flammable, toxic and corrosive gas.

Ariane 5G rocket use hypergolic propellant of methylhydrazine/dinitrogen tetroxide in its second stage booster.

Explosive articles containing hypergolic liquids may fall under class 1.1G 1.2G 1.3G 1.4G 1.1L 1.2L or 1.3L

Transport regulation list Methylhydrazine and dinitrogen tetroxide as in below table