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Laser Start for Rocket Engine


Adaptation of System Laser Ignition Components for the Chamber of Combustion of the Rocket Engine

Tech Area / Field

  • SAT-VEC/Space Vehicles and Support Equipment/Space, Aircraft and Surface Transportation

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


  • Cranfield University / School of Engineering, UK, Beds, Cranfield\nAerospace Propulsion Products B.V.\nSnecma Moteurs, France, Paris\nEuropean Space Agency / European Space and Technology Center, The Netherlands, Noordwijk

Project summary



The purpose of the project is an adaptation of the rocket propellant laser ignition system for rocket engine combustion chamber.

The rocket propellant laser ignition system for multiple start of the space rocket engine has been developed by OSC CADB and Keldysh Research Center collectively during the accomplishment ISTC Project 1926.

The system main elements are

  • small size solid state laser produced in Russia
  • small size ignition device with different inlet design for supply of O2-H2 and kerosene- O2 propellant components;
  • a system of the laser energy input to ignition device through light guide.

The developed device has been tested using the kerosene- O2 and O2-H2 propellant components.

The ignition of O2-H2 and kerosene- O2 propellant mixture has been realized by the laser light source in laser ignition devices.

There are no similar systems as an operative equipment in the world.

The prolongation of this work on research, design development and an adaptation of the rocket propellant laser ignition system for rocket engine combustion chamber is the sequence of two conditions:

The first: As the results of the investigations it has been shown, that it exists principle capability to ignite rocket propellant mixtures and the real engineering solution has been brought into being.
The second: Space industry is now searching mainly for the development multi used rocket launchers and small thrust multi start rocket engines of space object positioning and control systems for the purpose to cut down the finally the flight costs. The traditional start propellant ignition methods are not satisfying the new requirements for a new generation rocket engines.

For the purpose of achievement of the purpose of the project it is planned:

  • to develop a modified rocket propellant laser ignition device, which is operable in rocket engine combustion chamber;
  • to develop a rocket engine combustion chamber design with rocket propellant laser ignition system;
  • to go through the testing of the experimental rocket engine combustion chambers including the rocket propellant laser ignition system.


It is rational and economically preferable to solve the project tasks and to search for technical solutions directly suitable for a combustion chamber of an advanced and use targeted rocket engine.

Thus it is planned to carry an investigation in the following fields:

  • theoretical and experimental determination of the ignition conditions for mixture in the combustion chamber using the operating igniter and evaluation of the start process influence and combustion chamber operation on the igniter functioning;
  • development of the principle flow schematics and design elements;
  • investigation of the acoustic disturbances and vibrations in the operating combustion chamber on laser operation;
  • development and experimental functional checking of the technical solution of the connector place of light waveguide and igniter body;
  • development of the modified igniter design being capable to operate in the combustion chamber environment as a design element;
  • the theoretical and experimental solutions of the problems of the transfer results of inpidual combustion chamber to combustion chamber, operating as part of the operating engine.


It is expected, that these investigations ought to bring an sufficient advance in an accumulated knowledge in such scientific activity directions:

  • physical processes of an interaction of laser light with rocket propellant components;
  • solution of the development problems of the rocket engine combustion chamber incorporated a rocket propellant laser ignition system.


The project will be performed by the specialists, who early have been engaged in the development and scientific & engineering support of the space technology item production

Utilization of the creativity potential of these specialists and scientific employees in this project task solution will stimulate the practical realization of the conversion of the defense production activity into important development and production directions of civic nature. The purposes and the problems put in the Project, do not concern to defensive subjects. During performance of the Project it is supposed to lead adaptation of reusable system laser ignition components for the chamber of combustion of the rocket engine. Such system can be applied only in reusable rocket engines of civil purpose (engines of military purpose work on components which are ignited as a result of chemical reaction and the similar system ignition is not necessary for them).

The financing will be basis for keeping and casting of scientists and engineers for future scientific research.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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