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  • The DEIMOS III Engine Concept

    Paper number



    Mr. Steven Engelen, Technical University of Delft (TUDelft), The Netherlands


    Mr. Peter Batenburg, Delft University of Techonology (TU Delft), The Netherlands


    Mr. Louis Souverein, IUSTI, France



    The past few years, the student society DARE (Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering), has been working on developing (liquid) methane and oxygen propulsion systems in its DEIMOS programme. This led to the construction and tests of the DEIMOS I engine, with gaseous propellants, and the design of the DEIMOS II, intended to be one step closer to a lightweight fully optimised flight engine, and the testing of its injector elements.
    Recently however, DARE has started hybrid engine designs to serve as booster stages in the DEIMOS rocket family, under its Satinê programme. These engines were not designed for raw performance, but more from an ease of use point of view, hence they use nitrous oxide as oxidiser. This is a so-called ‘self pressurising’ liquid, using its vapour pressure to expel the liquid from the tanks. It became apparent that this could potentially solve the remaining problems in the DEIMOS programme in one go, as almost all of these were caused by the cryogenic nature of the propellants and its complex feed systems.
    After some initial designs based on the DEIMOS I test stand and the DEIMOS I engine, the idea arose to try and build a larger engine using a new propellant combination: ethane and nitrous oxide. 
    Both with high vapour pressure, they would result in a simple, cheap and lightweight feed system. A pyrovalve based solely on commercially available or easily manufacturable components was subsequently designed, and a propulsion system design emerged. This system is tentatively called "DEIMOS III", even though it has few links to liquid methane or liquid oxygen.
    The design philosophy for this new propulsion system, and its engine, was rather different from all of the other engines, which were designed for a specific flight vehicle. In this case, the engine would be designed around commercial, off the shelf feed-system components. The notion is to design the most advanced bipropellant engine a student organisation, with its limited budget and timeframes, could build and operate. 
    As this paper shows, this can reach quite a high technology level, as the DEIMOS III engine is an annular aerospike engine, partly regeneratively cooled, complete with a thrust vector control system and a simple yet very effective feed system and a maximum attainable thrust level of up to 50 kN.
    Abstract document


    Manuscript document

    IAC-08.C4.3.14.pdf (🔒 authorized access only).

    To get the manuscript, please contact IAF Secretariat.