New Zealand-based company Rocket Lab is developing the world's first battery-powered rocket. The company's invention centers around the Electron launch vehicle, which is powered by a battery-powered rocket engine.
The so-called Rutherford engine burns a mixture of liquid oxygen and rocket fuel. But rather than use a regular gas-powered turbine, it uses a brushless DC motor and lithium polymer batteries to run the pump. This setup provides enough fuel to generate 4,600 pounds-feet of thrust. This engine is also the first oxygen/hydrocarbon engine to use 3D printing for all its major components including its thrust chamber, injector, pumps and propellant valves.
If this battery-powered rocket turns out to be a success, it could revolutionize the space exploration industry. This technology could lead to an exponential rise in the number of satellite launches.