Checking date: 09/07/2020

Course: 2020/2021

Space Propulsion
Study: Master in Space Engineering (360)


Department assigned to the subject: Department of Bioengineering and Aerospace Engineering

Type: Compulsory
ECTS Credits: 3.0 ECTS


Students are expected to have completed
Complements of Aerospace Engineering
Competences and skills that will be acquired and learning results.
Basic competences CB6 To possess and understand knowledge that provides a basis or opportunity to be original in the development and / or application of ideas, often in a research context CB7 Students must know how to apply the knowledge acquired and their ability to solve problems in new or unfamiliar environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to their area of study CB8 Students must be able to integrate knowledge and face the complexity of making judgments based on information that, being incomplete or limited, includes reflections on social and ethical responsibilities linked to the application of their knowledge and judgments CB9 Students must know how to communicate their conclusions and the knowledge and ultimate reasons that sustain them to specialized and non-specialized audiences in a clear and unambiguous way CB10 Students must have the learning skills allowing them to continue studying in a way that will be largely self-directed or autonomous. General competences CG1 Capacity for the formulation, critical verification and defense of hypotheses, as well as the design of experimental tests for verification. CG2 Ability to make value judgments and prioritize in making conflicting decisions using systemic thinking. CG4 Ability to work in multidisciplinary teams in a cooperative way to complete work tasks CG5 Ability to handle the English, technical and colloquial language. Specific competences CE3 Ability to develop a complete system that meets the design specifications and the expectations of the interested parties. This includes the production of products; acquire, reuse or code products; integrate products in top-level assemblies; verify products against design specifications; validate the products against the expectations of the interested parties; and the transition of products to the next level of the system. CE9 Ability to understand and apply the knowledge, methods and tools of space engineering to the analysis and design of the propulsion subsystem of space vehicles.
Description of contents: programme
1. IN-SPACE PROPULSION Propulsion figures of merit: thrust, specific impulse, efficiencies. Propulsive requirements in space missions. Rocket equation. 2. CHEMICAL PROPULSION IN SPACE Figures of merit in chemical rockets (nozzles): thrust coefficient, characteristic velocity, etc. Monopropellant rockets: cold gas and hydrazine-based rockets. Bipropellant rockets: analysis of fuels and oxidizers. Review of thermochemistry. 3. PROPELLANT MANAGEMENT UNIT Introduction and review of the propellant management unit (PMU). Valves, pressure regulators and tanks. Tank sizing: pressurizer gas, propellant, and supercritic fluids. 4. ELECTRIC PROPULSION: MISSIONS AND PHYSICS The family of plasma thrusters Plasma production and acceleration mechanisms Optimum specific impulse Missions with electric propulsion Operation principles of Ion and Hall Thrusters. Maxwell and Fluid equations. Quasineutrality. Collisional processes. Dynamics of magnetized populations. 5. ION GRIDDED THRUSTERS Elements and electrical configuration. Global model of the discharge chamber. Grid model and expansion of the plasma jet. Performance laws. The hollow cathode. 6. HALL EFFECT THRUSTERS Elements and magnetic configuration Experimental characterization. Performance models. Design and technological aspects.
Learning activities and methodology
AF1 Theoretical class AF2 Practical classes AF3 Practices in computer classroom AF4 Laboratory practices AF6 Group work AF7 Individual student work AF8 Evaluation activities Code activity Nº Total hours Nº HoursPresencial % Student's presence AF1 103 103 100 AF2 45 45 100 AF3 28 28 100 AF4 14 14 100 AF6 67 0 0 AF7 400 0 0 AF8 24 24 100 TOTAL SUBJECT 682 215 32 Teaching methodologies that will be used in this subject MD1 Exhibitions in the teacher's class with support of computer and audiovisual media, in which the main concepts of the subject are developed and the bibliography is provided to complement the students' learning. MD3 Resolution of practical cases, problems, etc. raised by the teacher individually or in groups   MD5 Preparation of papers and reports individually or in groups
Assessment System
  • % end-of-term-examination 60
  • % of continuous assessment (assigments, laboratory, practicals...) 40
Basic Bibliography
  • G. Sutton and O. Biblarz,. Rocket Propulsion Elements, . Wiley, . 2010.
Additional Bibliography
  • M. J. L. Turner. Rocket and Spacecraft Propulsion. Springer. 2006

The course syllabus and the academic weekly planning may change due academic events or other reasons.