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Space propulsion engine test facilities at IRAS

The institute pursued the development of space propulsion engines for several years. There are of course concepts that have been elaborated only theoretically but the focus is on the actual testing of the engine concepts and designs. Therefore the institute established different test facilities to verify functionality and performance of developed engines.

Together with the student association ERIG e.V. a series of numerous hybrid rocket engines were designed and tested on therefore conceived test beds. The latest development, the HXDRA 4X is tested on a robust accommodation that can be seen in the first figure. It is designed for engines with a thrust level of about 1kN to 10 kN. The test bed is able to record different parameters like thrust, pressures and temperaturs.

Abbildung 1: Test firing of the hybrid rocket engine HXDRA 4X

A further test bed for smaller engines (100 to 500 N) is presented in the next figure. The shown test bed is designed in a modular way and can therefore be adapted and extended easily. Hence, a fast sequence of a number up to ten tests per day is possible. Another great advantage is the transportability. Due to its design of aluminum profiles it is easy to transport and fits into common transporters. All engine test firings are conducted at the test field of DLR Trauen.

Abbildung 2: Small hybrid engine on modular test bed