Liquid Methane and Oxygen Rocket Engine.

That's photo from a test firing of XCOR's new 7,500 pound thrust liquid methane and liquid oxygen rocket engine, developed for NASA for spacecrafts to and from the Moon and Mars.

Link: XCOR press release | New Scientist article


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The pattern of evenly spaced rings sometimes visible in the exhaust of an engine is typically referred to as shock diamonds or Mach disks. The phenomenon occurs anytime a flow exits a nozzle at supersonic speeds and at a pressure that is different than that of the external atmosphere.

http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/propulsion/q0224.shtml
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I wonder what physics are behind that neat "oscillating flame" look...? I've seen it before on other rocket enjines, and I've never figured out why it does that.

Either way, that looks WAY COOL!

--TwoDragons
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