L'incontournable projet étudiant

In partnership with great European participants in aeronautical and space sectors:

ACE3_arianegroup4_da_logotype_gris4_esa_logo_solid_dark_blueMusée de l'Air et de l'Espace 

WP5 – Reusable Propulsion / Maintenance

WP3 - Propulsion

The first step of the study consists in choosing the vehicle you will work on: either vehicle 1 for local suborbital flights, or vehicle 2 for high-speed long-range suborbital transportation.

Note than for type 1 vehicle, the study can deal with the "generic" sub-orbital vehicle described hereafter, focusing on the “propulsion” aspects, or it can be dealing with a sub-orbital vehicle studied previously by other student team. The study will be done by taking care of the minimization of environmental impacts from the solutions proposed, as well as to the maintainability induced by the need for “reusability” of the rocket propulsion system. It is welcome to refer to, and pursue, work done by previous teams.

You will address one of the following topics:

  1. Propulsion system:

    • In case of use of an existing engine and propulsion system: analysis of suitability with respect of safety needs, to the environmental impacts, and to the whole commercial life time, and of the ability for high reusability and affordable economic performance,
    • Or Adaptation of a rocket engine which is the « image » of an existing one (via the change of propellant, or change of operating condition / of the thrust, …) and existing propulsion system, to be adapted to the needs of a sub-orbital vehicle transporting passengers. The safety needs, the operation cost, the environmental impact, the maintenance related to reusability, will be analysed,
    • Or Study and pre-dimension, and issue the identified high level requirement, for a propulsion system specifically defined by the student team,
  2. Or

  3. Integration of the propulsion system to the vehicle:
    • Identification and elaboration of a concept, including pre-dimensioning (for the major elements), for one or all sub-systems belonging to the main propulsion system (i.e. thrust transmission, start/ignition and shut-down system, pressurization, feed-circuit from tank to engine,…),
    • Or Identification and elaboration of a concept, including pre-dimensioning or orders-of-magnitude, for a propulsion solution which includes both the main propulsion system and the propulsion for attitude-control (3 axis: roll, pitch, yaw) when out of atmosphere. The analysis can look for combining some equipment or some functions of each system (i;e. pressurization system) into a global solution for both, or for combining some propulsion elements or functions between carrying vehicle and spaceplane vehicle (in case of a 2-vehicle architecture),
    • Or The concept of a rocket propulsion system which is optimised for maintenance operations and interchangeability (of equipment, or of sub-assemblies made with various equipment, or of the complete rocket propulsion system), including the establishing of a “hierarchy” in term of number of reuse (number of operating cycles) of each sub-assembly of the rocket propulsion system (the lowest number of reuse being allocated to the rocket engine). Pre-dimensionning (by use of computation or analogy with known systems, or from bibliography) of the most significant sub-systems in order to ontain their dry mass and their geometrical size (volumic envelop). The architecture and the geometry (computed or assessed) of the rocket propulsion system will be described, as well as its position inside the vehicle in regard of the maintenance and interchangeability concept (operations, handling means). The rocket propulsion system can be newly defined or derived / re-used from previous student studies or bibliography.
  4. Or

  5. Analysis of take-off phase of a suborbital vehicle using a magnetic rail (Maglev) for assistance to the foreseen on-board propulsion, and of the benefit / constraints that it brings to vehicle design and perofrmance

  6. Or

  7. Analysis and design choice for a rocket propulsion system which is optimised against minimisation of environmental impact: at least against green-house gas emission, the dry mass of generated wastes (in particular at end of life if it is simply scrapped). This topic can be studied through a “life cycle analysis” starting with the manufacturing phase of the rocket propulsion system elements, then the operational life, and ending with the decommissioning of the propulsion system at end of its life. When quantitative data are not available or cannot be generated, elaborate a qualitative approach and, when possible, some orders of magnitude.

  8. Or

  9. Analysis of a concept, including the pre-dimensioning,(for its main elements) of an Attitude Control System« ballistic phases » (dubbed « SCAB »), to be used for flight phases where the aerodynamic surfaces are inefficient (no atmosphere, or flight domains with too low aerodynamic pressure): explain technological choice, list the elements of the SCAB, installation and lay-out in the sub-orbital vehicle, assessment of the total mass (at take-off).
  10. Input data: the analysis shall be done by taking into account a needed control torque of + / & 1200Nm around each of the 3 control axis of the vehicle, and a total duration (cumulated) of operating , for each control axis, of 100s.


Caracteristiques_vehiculeGeneral characteristics for the reference vehicles:
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Platform access

Access to the platform teams to download.
(For teams registered).

Work instructions

To check carefully before beginning the project.

Who can apply to the Challenge?

The Challenge aims to European college students.
If you are currently studying any of the following subjects, the Challenge is for you:

  • Mechanical engineering
  • Aerospace engineering
  • Economy
  • Law
  • Communication
  • Design
  • Medicine
  • Etc.

How to take part?

With the agreement of their teaching institution, teams (two to five students) can apply online, on this website, to work on one of the 10 Work Packages proposed by the Challenge. These projects can be led completely autonomously ...


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