Space Shuttle Main Engine

Chemical Rocket Propulsion

MECH 581A4


Catalog Description: Rocket propulsion is a key technology in the areas of space exploration, commercialization of space and even terrestrial systems such as automotive vehicle restraint systems.   Space exploration has seen a renewed interest in light of recent unmanned planetary missions.  However, the primary obstacle that has prevented man from walking on the surface of Mars is the propulsion system requirements.   In terms of the commercialization/privatization of space exploration, the recent explosion in communications technology has put an unprecedented demand for communication satellite launches and new companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic have captured the public imagination.  And, every automobile sold in this country includes solid rocket motors that are used to rapidly inflate the air bags.


Textbook: George P. Sutton and Oscar Biblarz, Rocket Propulsion Elements, 9th Edition, Wiley, 2016.


Instructor: Anthony J. Marchese                                      Download Course Syllabus here

Office: Scott 104 and Powerhouse 211
Phone: (970) 491-2328

home and objectives


Homework, Semester Design Project, Class Participation (50%). This course is a project-based course in which the majority of the assignments, grades and in-class collaborative work will be geared toward the semester design project. Specifically, the semester design project will consist of design, analysis, fabrication and testing of a 10 lb thrust hybrid rocket motor.
Hybrid Rocket Motor Design Report (50%). In addition to fabrication and testing, a detailed report will be due, which will inlcude all aspects of the design and analysis of your hybrid rocket motor.

Attendance Policy and Other Rules (Pet Peeves)

• Attendance at each class is required. Class participation is a key component of the course grade since much of the work will be geared toward the semester design project. If you cannot make it to class, please contact me prior to class.
• Please do not be late to class (The Powerhouse locks at 5 p.m., so you can't be late!).
• Please turn cell phones off.  Obviously, if you have some sort of emergency situation where you need to leave your cell phone on, just let me know prior to class.
• Bring your calculators or computers to class, since we will work on a lot of problems in class.
• Lap tops or tablets are allowed for calculation and/or note taking, but please refrain from surfing the web, unless I ask you to visit a URL in support of the lecture.

course outline and notes

homework assignments


rocket of the week

design project

rules and grading

csu logoColorado State University  • Fort Collins, CO 80523 • Phone / 970.491.2328
Contact with questions, problems or comments.
2019 Anthony J. Marchese.