Amateur Gas-Propelled Rocket Engine Development and Advanced Rocket Design

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L. J. Souverein; D. J. Twigt; S. Engelen (2009), JBIS, 62, 9-14

Refcode: 2009.62.9
Keywords: DARE, DEIMOS, methane propellant, student projects, rocket engine, amateur altitude record

The paper describes the design and manufacturing of a gaseous propellant rocket engine. It is an undertaking of the authors, performed on project basis with fellow aerospace engineering students under auspices of DARE (Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering). This paper describes the requirements, the engine development, and the design considerations and calculations as they were performed. Furthermore, the plans for engine tests and the parameters that will have to be measured during those tests are covered. The design process converged to a 1800 N thrust gaseous oxygen/methane (GOX/CH4) engine made of electrolytic copper. GOX/CH4 was selected based on its relatively high specific impulse, its availability and because of its potential as a green propellant. A test engine was produced with a specific impulse of 287 s and a propellant mass flow of 637 g/s. From a point of view of strength, the focus was mainly on robustness rather than light weight. The main aim now is to perform tests with the current engine, based on which the performance can be verified and vital information for future design efforts can be acquired. The ultimate goal is to have an operational rocket and to attempt an amateur altitude record.

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