Japan has successfully tested a rotary detonation engine in space

The basic concept of the rotating detonation engine (RDE) is so simple that it was born in the 1950s. RDE as a concept was first conceived at the University of Michigan in the 1950s, and is based on the idea that, unlike conventional internal combustion engines, the fuel is not burned but exploded in a circular chamber where the shock wave from the explosion travels along, providing propulsion while triggering another explosion – in other words, the process is self-sustaining until the fuel is used up.

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