The Story Behind This Green Rocket Exhaust

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When SpaceX test fired their Raptor engine on Sunday a few people asked me about the green coloration in the exhaust, while trying to answer this question I came across an image appearing to show a rocket engine with a bright green flame rather than the light tinge seen on the Raptor.

Oh yeah.. and I’m still sick.

  1. Joseph Warren

    oh man, the super bowl shade was amazing

  2. Archaeoptery X

    Lithium-Flourine, that’s what you want !

  3. SciFi Factory

    Why are rockets so damn cool?
    Damn it … have to build one …

  4. Furebel

    I thought they were running the rocket on Lovecraft!

  5. Justin Lee

    It might be toxic, but I think I’m in love with the colour!

  6. Umbrella Watch

    Ive said it many times… Elon Musk will get us to Warp Drive!!! I know it!!! Mark my words !!

  7. Kagan Rustem

    @ScottManley, I was wondering where your accent is from?

  8. GreatgoatonFire

    Scott Sassley taking it to the NFLman.

  9. James j. Jamesworth

    0:11 enjoying the weekend
    0:14 realising there’s school tomorrow

  10. Kansa City Shuffle

    Confused. He said Richard d clark but showed a book by john d clark. Same guy? Guy talked about in the book?

  11. Patchuchan

    They also sometimes will use a heat sink nozzle on a test engine that lacks a full cooling system as it doesn’t have to be flight weight and the can make rapid changes to the design.

  12. Alrie

    quality superbowl roast :-)

  13. Davinder Chandhok

    Outro music please!!

  14. JackSpeed 439

    You always have the answer. Get better so you can continue bring us even more answers

  15. Larry Lawrence

    thank you for space video with science

  16. olivier0092

    Could you do a video on your favourite (hard) sci-fi books? Mine is Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. WE LOVE YOU SCOTT!

  17. johnyfartpants

    Been a lot of rumours of a prototype aircraft flying out in the desert for some time now that also gives off a green exhaust plume due to some exotic fuel they are using?

  18. Andrew Christensen

    Hey Scott, you can get a nice green burn by putting borax (common household cleaner) under a lighter/blowtorch.

  19. Jeremy Gilbert

    I’m just glad you poked fun at that bad halftime show

  20. Strike Raid

    257 bar Pc; impressive..

  21. Nicolas Butzbach

    Richard D. Clark? On my one it says John.

  22. Lorenzo G

    I’ve designed a hydrogen peroxide and ethanolamine engine before and with some additives, the exhaust products are green. Both literally colored green and environmentally green.

  23. Sean McDonough

    1:25 – What was wrong with ye olde sparkplugge?

  24. R Johnson

    Thanks for answering that question!

  25. baskruitnl

    Recently I got ‘Ignition!’ as a birthday gift. Got on my wish list after the plug here, a while ago. Looking forward to it but first I need to finish Michael Collins’ Carrying the fire.

  26. Samira Peri

    My first reaction (:P) to Musk’s second tweet: “how is milli Tesla relevant in a thruster?” Use newtons, not weird made up units.

  27. Daniel I

    Can you explain that standing wave that happens in the exhaust stream. You called the shapes Mach diamonds. Does it improve performance at all or is it just a side effect.

  28. MrWitchblade

    Tinting a rocket engine any color for flight would be easy. It would also look amazing. :D

  29. Danilo Oliveira

    I’m more curious about why only 3 of the 4 engines of the model are firing

  30. Stan .Rarick

    I grew up with the space program (graduated HS in 1964), saw the Apollo 17 launch, saw a shuttle land at Edwards, toured the Goldstone Complex, and you’re STILL teaching me new things! Keep up the good work. 😊

  31. Pongo Ponginae

    Ignition is a fun read. :)

  32. J. Mc.

    Smh, Scott. I had a lot of respect for you then you said “terrible super bowl”… on of the best Defensive battles Ive ever seen

  33. sixstringedthing

    Gonna put the “Richard D. Clarke” down to you being under the weather… ;)
    Dekaborane was investigated pretty extensively for the Zip Fuel program too iirc

  34. Dmytro Picky

    I am interested in rockets but you know the environment is so toxic ;)

  35. Trumpasaurus Rex

    That Superbowl roasting tho

  36. #1 Tako

    Honestly with pentaborine chemical toxicity doesn’t scare me nearly as much as the asbestos-like crystals that get sand blasted out the nozzle as a result of the chemical reaction…

  37. Capt Grovesy

    I see Elon Musk purchased the Green Engine colour for Elite: Dangerous.

  38. Festerbestertester6

    I am amazed you are not an actual engineer – so much enthusiasm!

  39. Danilo Margarido

    Wildfire rockets. That’d be pretty epic.

  40. Hakaanu

    Richard D Clark? Didn’t the book say John D Clark?

  41. Mustang Sally

    Actually the Green Lantern fuel was used on this test. Thanks Scott, love your commentary, never miss a post.

  42. tponn

    I’m Scott Banley, fly safe! 😂 Get well, sir!

  43. some guy on the internet

    stolen necron techonology corrupted machine spirit , adeptus mechanicus and inqusition we need you

  44. Michael Morley

    Having read Mr. Clark’s book, and having particularly enjoyed the exotic fuels chapter, my first thought when I saw green exhaust was “chlorine trifluoride.”

  45. Arik Wolf

    — Acquisitions Incorporated Fans

  46. Nicolò Badodi

    Hey Scott, I read Ignition! and loved it! Do you know any other books like it in which I could learn more about rockets/space exploration history or anecdotes?

  47. John Meurer

    That thumb nail reminded me of hydrazine drag racers in the late 50’s. The exhaust would be green and the fuemes could kill or send you to the hospital

  48. ratedRF

    Dude, you’re my favorite rocket channel because your videos are full of knowledge. Just FYI.

  49. djmiller232

    I just started chapter 10 (it’s about Boranes) in Clark’s book Ignition! It is a fantastic read even if you don’t understand chemistry that well.
    Here’s an excerpt from chapter 6. He’s writing about Chlorine trifluoride, ClF3, or “CTF”:
    “All this sounds fairly academic and innocuous, but when it is translated into the problem of handling the stuff, the results are horrendous. It is, of course, extremely toxic, but that’s the least of the problem. It is hypergolic with every known fuel, and so rapidly hypergolic
    that no ignition delay has ever been measured. It is also hypergolic with such things as cloth, wood, and test engineers, not to mention asbestos, sand, and water —with which it reacts explosively. It can be kept in some of the ordinary structural metals — steel, copper, aluminum, etc. —because of the formation of a thin film of insoluble metal
    fluoride which protects the bulk of the metal, just as the invisible coat of oxide on aluminum keeps it from burning up in the atmosphere. If, however, this coat is melted or scrubbed off, and has no chance to reform, the operator is confronted with the problem of coping with a metal-fluorine fire. For dealing with this situation, I have always recommended a good pair of running shoes.”

  50. Riddick tonn

    Duh it’s green energy! 🤣🤣🤪

  51. ffggddss

    Thanks, Scott, and get well!

  52. Vekh Gaming

    “Toxic exaust fumes” you say?
    So its perfect for any rocked engine intended to be used above enemy territory.

  53. Dennis West

    I was going to complain about the shortness, but you shouldn’t be making videos when sick! Haha. Thanks for making a video even with a frog in your throat.
    Feel better!

  54. mikeissweet

    That _Ignition! _ book puts me to sleep with 100% success rate.

  55. DeepSpace12

    The rocket was probably conjured up by the Green Lanterns.

  56. popularopinion1

    the Minuteman III ICBM has 4 rocket nozzles on the first stage

  57. ufoengines

    Zip, Fuels   I’ve not heard that in a while .  Thanks for this post .

  58. Neil Maron

    I just finished Clark’s book, per your recommendation several months ago. Fun read. Is there a follow on volume from 1970 to present?

  59. Patrick Ryan

    Is Z.I.P. fuel the same stuff to light the afterburners on the SR-71?

  60. prgmTrouble

    But does it sound like “Sweet Victory” from Spongebob?
    Don’t worry Elon, neither does the NFL.

  61. wout wezenbeek

    I tought it was a zinc-sulphur propellant.

  62. Bearpope

    1:09 my dad nl

  63. Lion McLionhead

    Can always recognize a fellow BART rider by the flu.

  64. Zac Birrer

    Love getting my notifications from Scott!
    Thank you for the wonderful channel!

  65. Rhonda Fizzleflint

    Engine Detailing: €4,50

  66. Sterby jr.

    I’m pretty sure John D. Clark isn’t Richard.

  67. Pirmin Ostertag

    Spacex has burnt more than on superbowl halftime show and it also soundes better lmao

  68. surikatga

    When I saw the original video from the test, I thought “i wish Scott Manley would do video about this green flame”.
    Thank you Scott Manley.

  69. Derpy Hooves

    3:40 heresy and liquid oxygen? Sounds about right.

  70. Anvilshock

    Hey Elon! mT means milli-tesla, not metric tons.

  71. DeepSpace12

    0:53 Design requires 170 metric tons of force, engine produced 172 milliTesla instead.

  72. Sebi One

    I haven’t watched the video yet, but I’m guessing it was green because it was Apple flavored?

  73. Miguel Argüelles

    TEB, Like the SR71 used to light up the engines and afterburners

  74. Nevermind

    You forgot to mention that the rocket burn is also a lot more interesting than the Superbowl halftime show… Maroon 5 and the less talented half of Outkast? Yeh, pass ;-)

  75. Sean McDonough

    2:52 – And only three of the four are firing, for some reason.

  76. Don Guru de Bro

    That cam cant handle the thrust of the Raptor!

  77. Gareth Curtis

    Would like to nominate Scott Manley for the best space themed YouTube intro.. even that’s more interesting than most the other people doing space vids. 🤘

  78. Frederick Kaludis

    Hey Scott I worked at the Edwards AFB,
    A F Rocket propulsion Laboratory for Fifteen years we did use pentaborine flourine’s and a few others nasty Oxidizers like that wonderful
    nitrogen tetroxide. I did get a bad case of pneumonia from the last one. I was the shop know it all on propellants in the shop and had saved a lot of old rocketdyne propellant guide books on stuff like chlorine trifluorine, MMH, UDMH, N2O4 and Pentaxborine. That shit makes one again of RP1! I was there when a crew practice loading a strap-on stack for a Titan dropped a segment and burned up a test stand. And the 10-11 months of repairs that lead to failure of the same basic stack that destroyed the test stand again and the last set of firings that happened 24 months later because after that stack blew that stand needed much more work.

  79. Durai karthikeyan

    I cannot repeat enough times how much I love these timely short videos. 🙌

  80. CtrlAlt Debug

    What is this superb owl you speak of?

  81. Aj Rana

    Scott get well soon 😇😇

  82. Facterino Commenterino

    Today’s fact: Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt once ditched a White House dinner party to go on a joyride flight to Baltimore.

  83. Blair Van Biber

    We still need a nasa rocket that has red, white, and blue exhaust that would be launched on July 4th

  84. William Wilson

    The captions have you saying they are using “boring fuel”. Just what did Elon find while digging out his tunnel?

  85. Otrab

    Sassy Scott Manley is the best. Also, it looks like one of the engines on the SLS model failed.

  86. Schmoo

    Green flames are so pretty though! Why does everything beautiful has to be toxic?😭

  87. YouTube Seems Cool

    Hey whose extremely bald and masculine avatar is that to the right side of the screen at 1:09?

  88. GeneralBlackjack

    Triethylborane was also used in the SR-71 Blackbird to ignite the JP-7 fuel because it had a very high flash point.

  89. Brian Best

    The super bowl shade is real in this video

  90. The NotFlat Earth

    Tell us about the toilet that exploded on iss

  91. FandersonUfo

    You should interview Elon in the near future Scott. When you are feeling better of course.

  92. Kyou

    Somebody bought the green engine trails on elite dangerous.

  93. Normal Viewer

    I do like those Mach diamonds… and yes it did sound better than the halftime show

  94. Lars Ebbers

    Who had the brilliant idea to add RGB to Rockets? I fckn love it

  95. Human Person

    They should launch on St Patrick’s day with that green exhaust.

  96. JRvonP

    …. and probably sounded a lot better… muwahha cracking me up here rotflmao

  97. Das Kampffredchen

    Can we please cancel the super bowl and use the stadium instead for showing off rocket engines?

  98. Christoph Dreyer

    How can it be toxic when it’s obviously green power?

  99. Gianni

    “Which means that it probably burned more fuel than that Super Bowl halftime show – and also sounded a lot better”. *Savage.*

  100. Cole Smith

    Just covering up the fact that they use Kerbals for propellant. Absolutely disgusting and twisted.

Comments are closed.