Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


Dr. Dianne DeTurris


Hybrid rocket propulsion technology shows promise for the next generation of sounding rockets and small launch vehicles. This paper seeks to provide details on the process of developing hybrid propulsion systems to the academic and amateur rocket communities to assist in future research and development. Scaling hybrid rocket motors for use in sounding rockets has been a challenge due to the inadequacies in traditional boundary layer analysis. Similarity scaling is an amendment to traditional boundary layer analysis which is helpful in removing some of the past scaling challenges. Maintaining geometric similarity, oxidizer and fuel similarity and mass flow rate to port diameter similarity are the most important scaling parameters. Advances in composite technologies have also increased the performance through weight reduction of sounding rockets through and launch vehicles. Technologies such as Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessels (COPV) for use as fuel and oxidizer tanks on rockets promise great advantages in flight performance and manufacturing cost. A small scale COPV, carbon fiber ablative nozzle and a N class hybrid rocket motor were developed, manufactured and tested to support the use of these techniques in future sounding rocket development. The COPV exhibited failure within 5% of the predicted pressure and the scale motor testing was useful in identifying a number of improvements needed for future scaling work. The author learned that small scale testing is an essential step in the process of developing hybrid propulsion systems and that ablative nozzle manufacturing techniques are difficult to develop. This project has primarily provided a framework for others to build upon in the quest for a method to easily develop hybrid propulsion systems sounding rockets and launch vehicles.