Advanced science.  Applied technology.


Launch Vehicle Propulsion Training Course

Mar 19, 2024 to Mar 21, 2024
Go to Launch Vehicle Propulsion event

Launch Vehicle Propulsion Training Course

This introductory course covers liquid propellant system design and analysis for launch vehicles and other space flight systems. Intended for those with an engineering background, the participant is exposed to a fully-developed understanding of the propellant system that they can directly apply for the design, test, and operation of launch vehicles. Additional focus will be extended to these principles applied to upper stages, landers or other space vehicles. Attendees will gain an in-depth understanding of liquid propellant dynamic considerations for these vehicles’ design.

Course Description

This course is focused on the feed systems of liquid propellant space propulsion systems. Subjects of interest are the propellant tanks, propellant feedlines, pressurization systems, and the interaction of these components with overall vehicle performance. Starting with a basic foundation in liquid propulsion systems, in-depth topics are addressed and reinforced with classroom exercises. The concept of liquid sloshing in propellant tanks is covered along with the analytical, computational, and experimental methods to characterize sloshing parameters for guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) simulations. Common and advanced concepts of slosh baffling and other mitigation strategies with analysis techniques are discussed. The concept of unusable propellant is introduced along with methods for estimating the maximum fraction of propellant than can be drained from a tank. An introduction is given to propellant feedline dynamics, including start slump, water hammer, and pogo stability. Class exercises for identifying the pogo modal interactions between the vehicle structure and propellant system will include both strategies of avoidance as well as mitigation. The importance of maintaining adequate pressures in propellant tanks and the analysis techniques to design and model these pressurization systems will be introduced.  Cryogenic propellants require a firm understanding of phase change and thermodynamics to minimize propellant boil-off while maintaining tank pressurization and temperature requirements. This complex, multiphase, thermodynamic system is covered in detail with class examples. Other related topics which support total vehicle design, including materials considerations high velocity aerodynamics will also be introduced. Cryogenic pad safety aspects will also be introduced.

Course Overview

This introductory course covers the liquid propellant system design and analysis for launch vehicles and other space flight systems. By focusing on the propellant system upstream of the turbopump, the course includes topics of feedline dynamics, pressurization systems, liquid sloshing, propellant management, and propellant system modeling. Practical exercises are used throughout the course to re-enforce the material and live facility tours provide exposure to SwRI’s test facilities. Instruction is provided by experienced SwRI staff.

Course Topics

  • Introduction to the Engine and Propellant System
  • Liquid Propellant Feedline Dynamics
  • Propellant Pressurization Systems
  • Liquid Propellent Management
  • Cryogenic Propellant Considerations
  • In-Flight Propellant Dynamics and Sloshing
  • Mechanical Material Considerations
  • External Aerodynamics of Ascent/Reentry


Southwest Research Institute
Bldg. 77, Training Room 166
6220 Culebra Road
San Antonio, TX


Days 1 and 2: 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Day 3: 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Day 1: Liquid Propulsion System Cycle Introduction and Review

Rocket Engine Fundamentals
Engine Cycle Review
Engine Cycle Modeling
External Aerodynamics during Ascent/Reentry
Safety of LOX and LH2 (Launch Pad Plumes)
Suit Case Rocket Demo
On-site Lab Tour (External Hypersonics)

Day 2: Propellant System Storage and Feedline Interactions

Propellant Pressurization System
Propellant Feedlines
On-site Lab Tour (Feedlines and Turbomachinery Labs)

Day 3: Propellant Liquid Dynamics and Other Topics

Propellant Liquid Management
Cryogenic Considerations
Considerations for AM Materials
Fracture Control
On-Site Tours (Propellant Management, Materials)


$985 USD per registrant. Includes course instruction, training materials, and participation in classroom exercises.

2.4 CEUs will be awarded upon completion of the course. Completion of the course is equivalent to 21 professional development hours.

For more information, please contact Nathan Andrews or call +1 210 522 3543.