A Rocket Engine under a Magnifying Glass


L. Vingert, G. Ordonneau, N. Fdida, P. Grenard (ONERA)

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Even though the technology of cryogenic rocket engines is well mastered today, and has been applied successfully in many launchers all over the world, research activities on the various elementary or coupled processes involved in these complex systems are still relevant and useful for future developments, cost reduction, and knowledge improvement.
The Mascotte test facility was designed and built with this in mind twenty years ago. Since then, numerous configurations have been tested, enabling almost all of the phenomena involved in the operation of a rocket engine to be investigated, in a research lab environment, but nevertheless under representative conditions.
Research items addressed on the Mascotte test rig include: injector concepts; liquid oxygen jet atomization and combustion, new propellant combinations (methane instead of hydrogen), ignition, heat transfer at the chamber walls, high frequency instabilities, flow-separation in an over-expanded nozzle, plume and infrared signature.