Design and assembly of an affordable amateur rocket engine test bench using linear guides to reduce energy lost to structural deformation.



tablatest bench


Load cell stand

Capable of measuring up to 3000 kg, it is mounted on a vertical 6mm steel plate.

Linear Rail

A 300mm rail that guarantees a linear a frictionless movement with a perpendicular trajectory to the load cell. Two blocks are mounted on the rail. On top of them, two pipe clamps hold the motor.

Protective case

This case was added to the test bench to provide protection in case of an unexpectd explosion. It is made out of steel profiles and 1.5mm steel sheets that cover the frame.


The electronic team designed a PCB for the test bench. The electronic system is also composed by an accelerometer and pressure, temperature humidity sensors.

Open configuration /Close configuration


At the present, the test bench has accomplished by far its objective. The reliability of the bench has been proven beyond any doubt to the diferrent scenarios. To validate the performance of the measurement of thrust of the load cell, the performance of different motors were compared to the theoretical motors.

More test are expected in order to study different parameters of our rockent engines, such as trying out other propellants and combustion geometries. Therefore, the test bench will allowus to optimize the capability of our engines and setting better the variables to the current mission of our rockets.

Affordable rocket design with interchangeable rocket engine mount for different mission objectives, equipped with payload bay for amateur CubeSats and CanSats.






The optimal nosecone geometry was based on the Haack Series, seeking the minimum air resistance for a given nosecone diameter and height. The Haack coefficient used was c = 1/3.

Electronic Bay

Equipped with GPS modules, pressure sensor, temperature sensor, SD card, accelerometers for flight analysis. We are designing real time telemetry.

Deployment system

Hydra is equipped with a mechanical separation system based on a simple percussion mechanism that releases via springs. The parachute manufactured and implemented in HYDRA is a cruciform T-11,

Engine bay and "Julian" motor

One of the most relevant parts of the rocket is its capability to adapt to different flight profiles via an adaptable rocket mount. Our main rocket engine bay is in charge of housing 4 rocket motors of the “JULIAN” series, developed by LEEM. “JULIAN 1” rocket motor will present a thrust of 540 N during 1.8 seconds capable of getting Hydra up to 2500 meters.

Other projects

Characterization of multiple solid propellant regression rates using crawford bomb method

Presented at the 71st International Astronautical Congress. The relatively recent inclusion of the private sector into the space field has opened a wider range of opportunities to study the unknowns of the universe. Specially, an important effort is being devoted to enhance the propulsion systems currently available. By developing cheaper and safer rockets manufactured in a short amount of time, more experiments could be brought out to space, providing a priceless research to science. One of the factors to achieve that success in solid propellant rocketry is by making an optimized nozzle and rocket design. However, this is not an easy task, as it requires knowing properties from the fuel being used that sometimes can only be got experimentally. This research will serve as a very useful guideline for solid rockets’ design. Moreover, different experimental tests are carried out to crosscheck the validity of those values. A modified version of the Crawford bomb method is used to accurate measure those values. Other different fuel compositions are also analyzed, tested and reported using that strategy, with the goal of enhancing the knowledge about the current state of art in solid propellant rocket’ fuels. Different additives are included to reach exotic propellant combinations for futuristic space missions. Experimental set-up and an overview of the prototypes and fuel composition is fully addressed.

Design and manufacturing of a small low-cost lunar rover equipped with remote and autonomous movement, surface mapping and energy management

Presented at the 72nd International Astronautical Congress. The current state of celestial body exploration is heavily limited by the high costs of sending rovers to space. This has led to an unintended monopolization of said research. The rover’s main functionalities are remote and autonomous movement via artificial intelligence; an energy management system which includes solar panels as well as a battery pack; and a surface mapping utility. Moreover, the main structure includes sufficient spare volume, mass and power output to allow for additional research devices. The hardware includes basic telemetry and a control system in charge of ensuring that the electronics remain in their operational temperature range. Furthermore, the rover is equipped with multiple radar sensors that allow for the surface mapping process, which in itself is used as the input for the autonomous movement AI. In addition, the chosen structural material guarantees fine protection against ionizing radiation. Lastly, a vibration damping system is included to diminish the white noise recorded by the sensors along with a signal filtering software.

Variation of a rocket’s engine thrust relative to external pressure

Presented at the 70th International Astronautical Congress In order to have rockets reach the maximum altitude possible it is very helpful to launch from a higher altitude. One way to accomplish this is to launch from a hovering platform which is elevated via a helium balloon (also known as rockoon). Although it is important to bear in mind that this creates an inconvenience; launching from such a high altitude implies low pressure and temperature at the time of ignition, this can greatly affect the engines performance. Therefore, the objective is to analyse the effects of the characteristic pressure and temperature from different altitudes on the rocket engines. Moreover, the thrust functions will be traced in the different conditions mentioned and compared to find the optimal altitude from which to launch the rocket. The experiment will take place in a vacuum chamber