IV. Rocket Propulsion Systems. A. Overview

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1 IV. Rocket Propulsion Systems A. Overview by J. M. Seitzman for AE 4451 Jet and Rocket Propulsion Seitzman Rocket Overview-1 Rocket Definition Rocket Device that provides thrust to a vehicle by accelerating some matter (the propellant) and exhausting it from the rocket Most significant difference between rocket and air-breathing engines we have examined so far is that the rocket carries all its own propellant Seitzman Rocket Overview-2 1

2 Rocket: Performance Issues Thrust important when there are minimum allowable acceleration requirements, e.g., launch in gravity field Impulse F(t) dt measure of rocket performance normalized by mass of propellant required Other issues structural weight, size, complexity, reliability, Seitzman Rocket Overview-3 Rocket Propulsion Elements Propellant gas, liquid, solid Energy Source chemical, pressure, nuclear, radiation (solar) Storage Feed System for gases/liquids Storage same in chemical rockets Conversion to press., temp., electricity, radiation Accelerator Thermodynamic (pressure nozzle), electromagnetic (static, dynamic fields) Seitzman Rocket Overview-4 2

3 Examples: Pressure Rocket Cold Gas Thruster Cold gas (N 2, hydrazine, ) stored at high pressure with thrust provided by acceleration through nozzle Propellant=Energy source (storage pressure) Feed system: piping from storage to nozzle Accelerator: nozzle (thermal to kinetic energy) Seitzman Rocket Overview-5 Seitzman Rocket Overview-6 Examples: Chemical Rocket Bipropellant: LH2-LOX (H 2 /O 2 ) Combust pressurized H 2 and O 2 in combustion chamber, nozzle exhaust Propellant=Energy source (chemical) Storage: liquid (cryogenic) tanks Feed system: liquid pumps and piping Energy conversion: chemical to thermal energy (combustion) Accelerator: nozzle 3

4 Examples: Electrical Rocket Ion Engine Ionize neutral gas (Xe); ions accelerated by E field; ions recombined with e - Propellant: neutral gas Energy source: e.g., nuclear Energy conversion: nuclear to thermal to electrical Accelerator: high voltage electrostatic field across electrodes Seitzman Rocket Overview-7 Applications Space Propulsion Launch: from planetary body to orbit Orbit Insertion: from launch orbit to mission orbit Maneuvering: maintain or change orbit or trajectory Attitude Control: orientation of vehicle Aircraft Propulsion High thrust/acceleration (sustained or boosters) High speed flight (> ramjet/scramjet capability) Seitzman Rocket Overview-8 4

5 Chemical Rockets Common Applications Usual choice for high thrust rockets, e.g, launch, orbit change, aircraft propulsion Also used for maneuvering and attitude control Monopropellants vs. Bipropellants Monopropellants (no separate fuel and oxidizer, e.g., hydrazine) Bipropellants (e.g., hydrocarbon/oxygen, hydrogen/oxygen, nitrogen tetroxide/monomethyl hydrazine) Seitzman Rocket Overview-9 Chemical Rockets (continued) Propellant Types Gas rockets: fuel/oxidizer stored as gases requires large storage volumes Liquid rockets: stored as liquids more complex but high impulse Solid rockets: propellant is solid lower impulse but simpler Hybrid rockets: usually solid fuel+liq./gas oxidizer Motors vs. Engines Motor = propellant stored inside comb. chamber Engine = storage outside combustion chamber Seitzman Rocket Overview-10 5

6 Other Rockets: Applications Pressure (cold gas) attitude control + maneuvering: reduced thrust as pressure used up, rendevous Electrical Arcjet thrusters - maneuvering + attitude control Ion engines - space propulsion Future systems Nuclear thermal: like chemical rockets with nuclear-based heat addition, high thrust? Magnetoplasmadynamic and other electrodynamic devices, high impulse Seitzman Rocket Overview-11 Non-Rocket Space Propulsion Combined Cycles: typically combine airbreathing with rocket cycles for single-stage to orbit (SSTO) Solar sails: use momentum from solar radiation Magnetic sails: use magnetic fields Tethers: conducting material moving through EM fields can produce currents/voltages or passing current through tether can produce forces Gravity assist: sling shot effect Warp drive.. Seitzman Rocket Overview-12 6

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