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Overcoming Challenges in the Design and Manufacturing of Small Scale Rocket Engines

[+] Author Affiliations
Kory Matthys, Wyatt Walsh, Joshua Long, Drew Wagner, Ian Powell, Michael Cox, Joseph Piacenza

California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA

Paper No. DETC2016-59785, pp. V004T05A004; 10 pages
  • ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4: 21st Design for Manufacturing and the Life Cycle Conference; 10th International Conference on Micro- and Nanosystems
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, August 21–24, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5014-5
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


The once ubiquitous national space program, characterized by large-scale experiments, nearly gratuitous levels of funding, and unrivaled access to materials and talent, has given way to a multitude of smaller, decentralized entities. Furthermore, it is likely that a large market will soon exist for space tourism, suborbital passenger delivery, and other low payload missions. This trend has resulted in the potential for a substantial technological shift away from traditionally used large-scale rocket engines to smaller scale, reusable engines. A rocket that is liquid-fueled is ideal for this context, because liquid fueled engines are generally regarded as being safer than solid fuel engines, and unlike hybrid rockets, they can be refueled. However, the downsizing of liquid fueled rocket engines has not been thoroughly explored. Subsequently, there are many engineering challenges that have yet to be solved. Despite this difficulty, the vacuum of knowledge also presents an opportunity to pursue innovative designs and manufacturing techniques that are untenable for larger engines. This work seeks to overcome said obstacles and implement creative solutions to pursue small-scale rocket technology. Specifically addressed by this research is the design of the injector system and necessary considerations to facilitate manufacturing.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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