Design and Testing of a 5LBF Liquid Oxygen/Liquid Methane Reaction Control Engine

Steven Anthony Torres, University of Texas at El Paso


The University of El Paso’s (UTEP) Center for Space Exploration and Technology Research (cSETR) has been developing small scale liquid oxygen (LOX)/liquid methane (LCH4) thrusters for the majority of the last decade. This thruster development work is intended to be used on future LOX/LCH4 pressure fed robotic lander, Janus, and suborbital vehicle test bed, Daedelus. This engine is designed to operate under cryogenic propellant conditions and utilizes film fuel cooling. Previous iterations of this engine have been tested under ambient pressure conditions at UTEP which have produced good results in the past. The current design of the RCE has used revised modelling methods using CEA and has also been adjusted to decrease dribble volume. The change from the UTEP test facility to the Technology Research and Innovation Acceleration Park test facility warranted a new RCE test bed design that is mobile and suitable for outdoor testing. Hot fire testing of the RCE resulted in 4/6 successful hot fires with chamber pressures ~2psig. System data shows issues with the facility and engine operation that may improve engine performance.

Subject Area

Mechanical engineering

Recommended Citation

Torres, Steven Anthony, "Design and Testing of a 5LBF Liquid Oxygen/Liquid Methane Reaction Control Engine" (2020). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI27999114.