By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor
The Mojave Air and Space Port has received $23,750 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration toward the purchase of equipment that will allow firefighters to rapidly bore a hole through the side of a composite vehicle and put out a fire inside of it.
The grant will cover half the $47,500 cost of purchasing the PyroLance Dual Firefighting and Piercing equipment. The spaceport will pay for 40 percent of the cost while the remaining 10 percent will come out of the rents of composite spacecraft builders at the California desert flight center.
Spaceport officials want the advanced equipment to deal with potential accidents involving vehicles built with advanced composites. The company’s website describes the company’s technology as follows:
PyroLance is a revolutionary firefighting tool used by fire units around the world. By integrating granite abrasive with an ultra-high pressure (UHP) stream of water, PyroLance allows a crew to literally pierce through concrete, composites, plate steel and other barriers to gain direct access to the source of any fire.
Once a barrier is pierced, PyroLance’s granite abrasive switch is disengaged as the unit continues to flow water at ultra-high pressure. Because UHP produces billions of tiny micro-droplets with far more surface area than normal water drops, PyroLance is able to take on the fire’s thermal layer directly, cooling temperatures by hundreds of degrees in just seconds. UHP is also much more efficient than traditional attack lines, using up to 90% less water with far greater extinguishing power.
The Mojave award was part of $474,000 worth of commercial spaceport infrastructure grants given out by the FAA this year. The agency awarded matching grants of $200,000 to Colorado’s Front Range Airport Authority and $250,000 to the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. The Hawaii and Colorado grants will be used for feasibility studies and environmental assessments for potential FAA commercial launch site operator’s licenses.