Honestly, I have no idea how time slips through my fingers so fast. It seems like only a couple of hours ago that I was posting the Day 15 build blog, but that was on Friday and it’s not Monday — the weekend seems to be but a dream. It’s like living in The Matrix where someone else is helping themselves to my weekends.

We have two engines! (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: John Alflat)

In our previous column, I made mention of the fact that I was puzzled by the presence of the fuel cap. As I said at that time: “We know that the A-Wing Starfighter employs two Novaldex J-77 Event Horizon engines augmented with Incom GBK-785 Hyperdrive Units. On this basis, considering the raw power involved, having a “fuel cap” seems a little… “prosaic,” shall we say. What sort of fuel do these engines actually use? I shall pose these questions to John and we will see what he has to say for himself.”

Well, accompanying today’s photo was the following message from the man himself: “I worked on the second engine today and, as you can, see this isn’t quite finished yet. I still have the mid-section, including a transfer, be completed.”

John went on to say, “To answer your question regarding what powers the engines, there are 2 x RZ1: MPS Bpr-99 fusion reactors and 2 x RZ2: Klyd Marrow 67e fusion cores, and these require an equal mix of deuterium and tritium, hence the fuel cap :-)”

OK, fair enough, but since deuterium and tritium are both isotopes of hydrogen, I guess this means the A-Wing’s fuel comes in liquid form, so we’ll have to wear gloves when fueling the beast. Also, tritium is radioactive (the nucleus of a tritium atom — sometimes called a “triton” — contains one proton and two neutrons) with a half-life of 12.3 years, which means the capabilities of the fighter will degrade over time unless you keep it topped up with fresh fuel. All of which now leads me to wonder (a) how many gallons of deuterium-tritium mix does it take to fill the tanks (b) are we talking about American (pseudo) or Imperial (real) gallons, and (c) how many light-years do we get per gallon? That springy, thudding pop sound John hears is the ball landing back on his side of the metaphorical court.