Rocket rotating detonation engine flight demonstrator

Adam Okniński , Jan Kindracki , Piotr Wolański


Purpose: Today’s modern liquid propellant rocket engines have a very complicated structure. They cannot be arbitrarily downsized, ensuring efficient propellants’ mixing and combustion. Moreover, the thermodynamic cycle’s efficiency is relatively low. Utilizing detonation instead of deflagration could lead to a significant reduction of engine chamber dimensions and mass. Nowadays, laboratory research is conducted in the field of rotating detonation engine (RDE) testing worldwide. The aim of this paper is to cover the design of a flight demonstrator utilizing rocket RDE technology. Design/methodology/approach It presents the key project iterations made during the design of the gaseous oxygen and methane-propelled rocket. One of the main goals was to develop a rocket that could be fully recoverable. The recovery module uses a parachute assembly. The paper describes the rocket’s main subsystems. Moreover, vehicle visualizations are presented. Simple performance estimations are also shown. Findings This paper shows that the development of a small, open-structure, rocket RDE-powered vehicle is feasible. Research limitations/implications Flight propulsion system experimentation is on-going. However, first tests were conducted with lower propellant feeding pressures than required for the first launch. Practical implications Importantly, the vehicle can be a test platform for a variety of technologies. The rocket’s possible further development, including educational use, is proposed. Originality/value Up-to-date, no information about any flying vehicles using RDE propulsion systems can be found. If successful in-flight experimentation was conducted, it would be a major milestone in the development of next-generation propulsion systems.
Author Adam Okniński
Adam Okniński,,
, Jan Kindracki ITC
Jan Kindracki,,
- The Institute of Heat Engineering
, Piotr Wolański ITC
Piotr Wolański,,
- The Institute of Heat Engineering
Journal seriesAircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, ISSN 1748-8842
Issue year2016
Publication size in sheets24
Keywords in Polishdetonacja ,silnik detonacyjny, silnik RDE
Keywords in EnglishCDWE, Continuous detonation wave engine, Detonation, RDE, Rocket design, Rotating detonation engine
Abstract in Polishbrak
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)20
ScoreMinisterial score = 20.0, 28-11-2017, ArticleFromJournal
Ministerial score (2013-2016) = 20.0, 28-11-2017, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators WoS Impact Factor: 2016 = 0.519 (2) - 2016=0.592 (5)
Citation count*0
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* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.