AAE 53900: Advanced Rocket Propulsion


Generalized internal compressible and incompressible flows. Thermochemistry and heat transfer in rocket applications. Advanced topics in solid rocket motor performance and internal ballistics. Liquid rocket engine cycle analysis and turbopump design. Combustion of liquid and solid propellants. Hybrid rockets, thermal-nuclear engines, and electric propulsion.

Format: 3 hrs lecture per week

Credit hours: 3

Status: Elective, Propulsion, Astronautics

Offered: Spring

Pre-requisite: AAE 439 or consent of instructor

Co-requisite: None

Course Instructor: Professor Heister

Text: Space Propulsion Analysis and Design, R. Humble, G. Henry, and W. Larson, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1995, ISBN0-07-031320-2.

Assessment Method: Homework 20%, Research Report 15%, Midterm 30%, Final Exam 35%

Grading Policy is an instructor option and may vary.

Course Objectives:

The principle objective of this course is to enhance the student's background in rocket propulsion beyond the introductory material presented in AAE 439. Specific goals include developing an understanding of:

Chemical equilibrium calculations in a general combustion reaction

Generalized 1-D compressible and incompressible internal flows

Fundamentals of heat transfer in rocket propulsion devices.

Operating principles of nuclear thermal propulsion systems.

Unsteady and generalized ballistics of solid rocket motors

Combustion in solid rocket motors

Liquid rocket power cycles and combustion processes

Fundamentals of hybrid rocket performance and combustion

Fundamentals of electric propulsion devices

Necessary Background:

Students entering the course should have a background in basic rocket performance and 1-D compressible flows. Concepts such as specific impulse, thrust coefficient, and characteristic velocity should be familiar to the incoming student.

Topics (number of Lectures):

  1. Introduction - Review of rocket fundamentals and thermochemistry (3 Classes)
  2. Steady, 1-D Duct Flows - Compressible and incompressible flows (6 Classes)
  3. Heat Transfer in Rocket Nozzles/Chambers and rocket cooling techniques (9 Classes)
  4. Liquid Rocket Engines - power cycles, pump design, tank design, pressurization systems, and combustion (9 Classes)
  5. Solid Rocket Motors - unsteady and generalized ballistics, combustion theory (9 Classes)
  6. Hybrid Rocket Motors - basic performance and combustion theory (3 Classes)
  7. Electric Propulsion Systems - classification, basic operating principles (3 Classes)
  8. Student Reports - (3 Classes)

Relationship to Program Objectives:

This is a second course in rocket propulsion and serves as an elective to satisfy major and minor area requirements for undergraduates and as an introductory course for graduate students. The course aids in developing competence in rocket propulsion (1). Homework assignments emphasize problem solving (2a) and some open-ended problems may be assigned. Technical reports provide practice in written and oral communications (2c) and are generally prepared by 2-3 person teams (2b). Professional conduct (2d) and life-long learning (3) are discussed by the instructor anecdotal stories throughout the semester.

Prepared by: Stephen D. Heister

Date: 6 February 2001