Performed during January of 2009 in the Mojave Desert, these initial tests are just the first step in the full evaluation process of biodiesel as rocket fuel. For this first trial, Flometrics began by firing the rocket using its traditional RP-1 kerosene rocket fuel and liquid oxygen (LOX). They allowed the pressures to stabilize and then measured the LOX pressure, chamber pressure, and fuel pressure about six seconds into the firing. The chamber pressure is directly proportional to the thrust in this type of rocket engine, allowing thrust to be extrapolated from the taken measurements. These numbers were used as the control numbers to compare against the biofuel performance.
Many more tests are needed before adopting biodiesel as a viable rocket engine fuel, but Flometrics is planning to continue its testing with another round of tests planned for the immediate future. The next round of testing should include an actual rocket launch (the initial tests just fired the engines without launch) in the near future. Flometrics is hoping the success of the test will spark interest in renewable missile fuels from NASA and the Air Force.