Welcome to the RocketWorkbench Project

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There are a great many aspects of experimental rocketry that will greatly benefit from well designed, tested, and documented tools and subassemblies. This will facilitate rapid design, analysis, and implementation allowing today's experimenter to develop more sophisticated hardware at lower cost.

Here is a list of the projects we are actually working on.

High Voltage Igniter

This project is to develop an ignition system for a bipropellant motor using a high voltage spark gap and pilot flame. The spark will be used to ignite a fuel/oxidizer gas pilot mixture such as hydrogen and oxygen. The pilot flame will be used in turn to ignite the main propellant mixture.

It is envisioned that two versions will be produced: a "dumb" version and a smart one. The dumb version will use simple electronics that require control (sequencing) from an outside entity. The smart version will contain a microcontroller that will control the complete ignition sequencing upon command and report back the system status.

The project is broken into several parts: HV spark generator, gas pilot assembly, and ignition detection. The high voltage will be accomplished using a conventional switched inductor gas engine coil. The gas pilot mixture will be controlled by solenoids. Four systems are being examined for ignition detection: temperature sensing with a thermocouple, gas plasma sensing, temperature sensing with a glow-plug element, and infrared detection.

Project Blog

In order to design a rocket, it is necessary to know its flight caracteristics under the more reallistic conditions. A simple one dimensional analysis is far to be enought.

Rockflight is a project to fill this need and will allow a very complete and accurate simulation of a rocket flight, up to orbit. It simulates a rigid-body rocket over a rotating earth, solving for twelve unknown: three velocity components, three angular velocity components, position around the earth (longitude, latitude, altitude) and euler angle of body relative to velocity.

Complexe atmosphere profile, thrust vector control, multiple stages and much more feature will allow the simulation of complxe flight.

A lot of work still need to be done. Any interested people is invited to look at the source code and help in the development. Feel free to send your comments.

Browse CVS:
Grain Design

The development of solid propellant grain design method is important to achieve high performance and to well predict pressure evolution in rocket motor. There is a lot of useful configuration and they should be evaluate in order to decide which one to use in particular situations.

This section of the project intend to present theorical analysis of those configuration as well as design example and simulation software to compute characteristics.

Star configuration analysis:
C-Slot configuration analysis:

Computation of complex chemical equilibria of a perfect gas and pure condensed species in order to characterize rocket motor performance. This software intend to be a replacement of the highly useful propep while allowing more flexibility.

The development of cpropep is based on the theory pesented in:

S. Gordon and B.J. McBride, Computer Program for Calculation of Complex Chemical Equilibrium Compositions and Applications: I. Analysis , NASA Reference Publication 1311, October 1994.
Download pdf version

The thermochemical data were provided by Bonnie McBride of NASA Gleen Research Center.

Official release (1.0)
Online CVS Repository
Gui for windows by Hans Olaf Toft
GUI for windows by Steve Asman
-> originally download from:
-> http://www.msu.edu/user/asman/gpep.zip
Online tools:
Thermodynamic properties database