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Laser Ignition in Jet Engines


Development and Creation of a Laser System for Fuel Components Ignition for Multiple Start of a Space Rocket Engine

Tech Area / Field

  • SAT-VEC/Space Vehicles and Support Equipment/Space, Aircraft and Surface Transportation
  • PHY-OPL/Optics and Lasers/Physics

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Malakhov Yu I

Leading Institute
Chemical Automatics Engineering Design Corp., Russia, Voronezh reg., Voronezh

Supporting institutes

  • Keldysh Research Center, Russia, Moscow\nEnergomachtehnica, Russia, Moscow


  • Stork Group/Stork Product Engineering B. V., The Netherlands, Amsterdam\nCranfield University / School of Engineering, UK, Beds, Cranfield\nLos Alamos National Laboratory (M. S. E535, Group CST-6), USA, NM, Los-Alamos\nTohoku University/Institute of Fluid Science / Shock Wave Research Center, Japan, Sendai\nLos Alamos National Laboratory, USA, NM, Los-Alamos

Project summary

The purpose of the project - development of a laser ignition system of propellant components for reusable start of a space rocket engine. It does not exists similar system now and, and in principle, the system should include the serially produced pulse solid-state laser possessing necessary for ignition beam quality, system of optical waveguides and devices for direct injection of laser beam into a rocket engine combustion chamber. Besides, for assurance of compactness and increased reliability of such system, during project activities it is supposed to develop the power laser device on the basis of phase coupled semiconductor matrixes, which in this system will be utilized as a basic design block.
The development according to proclaimed purpose is complicated by fact, that until now no one of developed countries does not conduct researches of physical processes of interaction of fuel component mixture with a laser beam. However successful solution of these tasks will allow to developed a laser system, which can find broad application in all technical devices, where there is a necessity effective ignition of fuel mixture under pressure.
The importance of this problem is determined also by the fact, that nowadays with the purpose of space rocket launch cost reduction, all potential domestic and foreign customers proclaim the requirement as one of main conditions of new space engine development their reuse capability - several firing in one launch mission or during orbiting.
Now in the developed countries the intensive activities are conducted for cost reduction of the delivery of payloads to orbit. These researches are conducted in following directions:
- Use of reusable launchers;
- Increase of space payload orbit transfer capability by multiple of engine firing.

Positive experience of CADB and Keldysh Scientific Center in the development of such space rocket engines is basis for formulation the optimal parameters requirements of combustion chamber ignition component and also for development of various devices permitting to introduce a laser beam in component mixing zone.

The large significance is given to development of the laser device based on effect of phase coherent capability of inpidual radiators of powerful cooled diode matrix, as the most effective method of obtaining of laser radiation. A major element of this device is the matrix of crystal diodes, which is now under development in number of the developed countries. In Russia the essential experience of activities in this area is accumulated in «Energomachtehnika» JSC.

Thus tasks in the project, have, on one hand, substantiation of fundamental research results in the field of semiconductor laser engineering, and on the other hand, they are supported by large experience and high qualification of the liquid rocket engine experts and developed by their activity laser prototypes.


It is planned to conduct researches in following directions:
- Theoretical and experimental definition of parameters of a laser beam necessary for guaranteed ignition of components,
- Development of the principal schematics and components of a laser ignition system on the basis of production lasers;
- Experimental researches of processes of interaction of laser beam with a mixture of propellant components;
- Investigation a capability of development of the laser device on the basis of semiconductor diode matrix;


- Development of laser device design the with parameters necessary for ignition of propellant components on the basis of production lasers;
- Development of the design concept of laser ignition system with reference to the particular rocket engine;
- Development of a design of the laser components ignition device on the basis of semiconductor diode matrix.


These researches, as it is expected, should result in essential promoting forward in following areas of a science:
- Physical processes of interaction of laser radiation with propellant components sprayed and mixed down the burner plate in rocket engine combustion chamber;
- Problem of development of laser diode matrixes including the development of high performance semiconductor structures, and also technology of a high heat rejection (up to 5kW/cm2) from a matrix during operation.


The project will be accomplished by the experts occupied earlier in development and scientific support of aerospace military project items. Use of a creative potential of these experts and scientific for the solution of tasks put in the present project, will promote to implement the conversion of defensive technology in the important civil technological direction activity. The financing of the program will allow to loosen consequences of reduction of military spending and to keep for a science of the scientists and engineers.


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