NASA has requested our 18,000 pound thrust methane fueled rocket engine for a test item to verify the modification of their rocket engine test facility. They are converting one of their facilities from hydrogen to methane.
Advent Launch Services has promoted the use of methane for a rocket fuel for almost 10 years. Replacing the conventional hydrogen fuel with methane reduces the size and cost of the tank significantly. However, the change was not seriously considered until the lunar and mars mission requirements were recognized.
The lunar and mars missions require long storage of the propellant. Cryogenic methane is much easier to isolate thermally than hydrogen. The reduced size of the tank and the higher temperature of methane are the key factors.
Also, there is a possibility that methane may be available at the destination sites. Not having to carry along fuel for the return flight is a very significant factor. Hydrogen may also be available at the destination sites but the preparation of hydrogen for use as rocket fuel is much more complex than the preparation of methane.
NASA is planning a very complete test of the Advent engine to verify all of their test capabilities at the modified facility. The data will be of great value to both Advent and NASA.