What’s Fueling the SpaceX Falcon Rockets?

So no, you can’t drive to outer space (even if Elon Musk did launch a Tesla Roadster last year).  But – the fuel in your tank probably has a lot in common with what’s in the fuel tanks of a Falcon 9 rocket.  (That’s the rocket SpaceX uses to get the “Dragon” to the space station.  And the Dragon – is the spacecraft that, if all continues to go well, will be shuttling astronauts to and from the space station, starting later this year.)

To do that, the Falcon 9 uses kerosene for fuel (along with liquid oxygen) – and both kerosene and gasoline come out of the same barrel of oil.  They’re just refined a little differently.  That doesn’t mean you can fill your tank with RP-1 – or that SpaceX could wheel up a Falcon 9 to your local gas station for some high octane.  But whether you’re rolling down the street or rocketing through space, the fuels that get us there all start from the same place:  petroleum.  Imagine that.

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