Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical Engineering


Dr. Jack F. Chessa

Second Advisor

Dr. Ahsan R. Choudhuri


At the Center for Space Exploration and Technology Research (cSETR), the rocket propulsion technology of liquid oxygen and liquid methane has moved on from development, to the testing phase. The Centennial Restartable Oxygen Methane Engine (CROME) and a 5 lbf. Reaction Control Engine (RCE) are the test subjects for this technology. Located in Fabens, TX, the Technology Research and Innovation Acceleration Park (tRIAC) has been home to the testing campaign of both these engines as of the Fall 2019 semester. Having an out of campus testing facility, makes for a safer and more controlled test environment for both the test personnel and surrounding areas.

To safely hot fire test CROME, a horizontal thrust stand, load cell module, and engine module had to be designed to secure the engine, instrumentation, and control components. The Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of the test stands was a critical step to validate the test stand's design before any manufacturing process took place. Based on preliminary modal and static analysis results, modifications to the engine module had to be done to increase its overall performance. Thanks to the user-friendly design of the engine module, the addition of a flexure and support structures was possible.

While CROME completed qualification testing such as high-low pressure leak checks, cryo-shock and igniter tests, preliminary hot fire tests were conducted for the 5 lbf. RCE. During the RCE preliminary test campaign, very low chamber pressures were obtained at cold-gas combustion and un-sustained ignition at saturated temperatures. Based on data gathered at these tests, modifications to the facility side of the RCE system were made to increase its overall performance. Data reduction and system analysis was a key factor in understanding the performance of the RCE and the tRIAC facility at its current stage. Future iterations of the engine and facility will use such data as a ground base for improvements.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

110 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Rene Miranda

Available for download on Monday, August 26, 2120