February 5, 2016 – Escape Dynamics, Inc. has reported on its website that it has discontinued operation and will no longer continue its research efforts.
The startup company generated a lot of excitement last summer when they successfully demonstrated a novel microwave propulsion system in which energy coming from the electric grid was converted into microwave beam via a high power microwave source, and beamed to a thermal thruster which generated efficient thrust. This method would enable reusable single-stage-to-orbit flight and reduce the cost of space access beyond what is possible with chemical rockets.
Unfortunately, in order for the plan to work, Escape Dynamics would need to design a large-scale energy storage system which could be charged from the grid or from renewable sources. That energy would then drive the microwaves, and a series of phased array microwave transmitters would focus the beams at the spacecraft. As the craft took off, the microwaves would need to track the ship, providing a continuous supply of energy to the hydrogen or helium fuel supply in the spacecraft.
The company statement read, “The cost of completing the R&D all the way through operations makes the concept economically unattractive for our team at this time. We also concluded that at current stage technical risks and uncertainty about the cost and timeline are still very high and are not attractive to private investors.”
Escape Dynamics, Inc. was headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado.