In June 2006 the Student work group STAR at the University of Stuttgart started the new project HyEnD - Hybrid Engine Development with the
goal of developing, building and testing a Hybrid Rocket Engine with a total thrust of 2000 N. With a burn time of 10s that results in a total impulse of 20000 Ns. The corresponding test stand will be placed somewhere on the area at the University of Stuttgart.
Our team consists of Aerospace Engineering students at the Universität Stuttgart who spent a huge time of their small free time for that project. The fun in designin, calculating and building real rocket engines is primary focused. Our work is financed by our sponsors, who support us generously.
Interested students who want to enhance their sometimes theoretical lectures and studies with something practical, and are also enthused about space flight and propulsion in particular, can leave a message via our contact site.
In the meantime we already achieved a large part of our initial goals and have already lots of new plans. Untill now ( May 2009 ) we have conducted 18 tests and are planing already an improved and weight optimized engine version with a full burning time of 10 sec.
Why Hybrid rocket engines?
The basic idea of hybrid rocket engines is to unite the simplicity and the storage behaviour of solid fuels with the controllability and reignition capability of liquid rocket engines. The disadvantages of those two extremes as toxity, high safety risk or large material or control efforts are prevented. Their simplicity and high safety in handling makes them an excellent opportunity for academic and educational purposes at university for a student group. Projects like this offer a great possibility for students during their academic studies to apply all the theory they learnt and get real on-the-hands experience in developing, calculating, actually building and operating real hardware.
The most well known application of hybrid rocket engines is the SpaceShipOne from Scaled Composites, an experimental airplane with rocket propulsion for the private and commercial manned space flight up to 100 km altitude. On June 21st 2004 pilot Michael Melvill made the first privately funded manned space flight.
Further possible applications could be as a kickstage for small satellites, or as propulsion system for sounding rockets.