Aerospike Nozzle for Rotating Detonation Engine Application

Metadata Updated: March 22, 2019

This proposal presents a graduate MS research thesis on improving the efficiency of rotating detonation engines by using aerospike nozzle technologies. A rotating detonation engine (RDE) is a pressure-gain combustion system that utilizes circumferentially-travelling shock waves to detonate the propellants. RDEs are estimated to have specific impulses 10-15% greater than conventional rocket engines. A propulsion technology with a performance increase of this magnitude is directly applicable to launch vehicles, fulfilling the goal of TABS 1.2.4.

Typical RDE engine designs have an annular thrust chamber to facilitate the formation of rotating shock waves. The exhaust flow leaves the combustor through this annulus leading to the formation of a base pressure region behind the center-body of the RDE, which necessitates a nozzle surface within the base region to properly expand the flow and communicate pressure forces to the vehicle. The annular geometry of the RDE naturally lends itself to utilizing an axisymmetric aerospike nozzle to capture the potential kinetic energy lost in the base region. An aerospike would not only increase the efficiency of the engine, but also allow the engine to have improved performance over a range of pressure altitudes, an additional benefit for a launch vehicle application. This research project focuses on increasing the efficiency of RDEs by using an aerospike nozzle to further convert the improved energy release from the detonation combustion event into useful kinetic energy. This study would investigate the effect of an aerospike nozzle on the formation of detonation waves in the RDE. In addition, multiple experiments involving canting the aerospike with respect to the engine centerline will be conducted to determine the ability to thrust-vector the engine. This research is necessary to developing practical rotating detonation engines capable for launch vehicle applications.

Access & Use Information

Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: U.S. Government Work

Downloads & Resources


Metadata Created Date August 1, 2018
Metadata Updated Date March 22, 2019

Metadata Source

Harvested from NASA Data.json

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date August 1, 2018
Metadata Updated Date March 22, 2019
Publisher Space Technology Mission Directorate
Unique Identifier TECHPORT_93901
Maintainer Email
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 026:00
Metadata Context
Metadata Catalog ID
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
Datagov Dedupe Retained 20190322035503
Harvest Object Id fc50c034-fab3-4882-a15a-1d9ee097743c
Harvest Source Id 39e4ad2a-47ca-4507-8258-852babd0fd99
Harvest Source Title NASA Data.json
Data First Published 2019-08-01
Homepage URL
Data Last Modified 2018-07-19
Program Code 026:027
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash f61e402c41f9dcfb53e562d812fdfe67698419e1
Source Schema Version 1.1

Didn't find what you're looking for? Suggest a dataset here.