The use of thermite with heavily fortified lightweight metals could achieve a rocket ignition temperature of over 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and the thrust produced as the thermite converts to liquid and gas in a very short amount of time would produce an accelerating lift. The rocket would have the capability to reach outer space within 10 to 15 seconds. The thermite could be used as a secondary ignition, since approximately 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit would be needed to ignite the thermite. The heat could be used to produce additional thrust with a tertiary chemical rocket that burns through the liquids and gases released from the thermite burn. The tertiary thrust could be the combination of a hydrogen propulsion system and a non-caustic chemical reactive fusion process, to convert the hydrogen into a higher flammable compound, and ignite through the tertiary thrust system utilizing the thermite burn.
- Patrick R. McElhiney
- Propulsion Systems (PROPSYS)