DLR - Institute of Space Propulsion, Institute of Jet Propulsion and Turbomachinery (IST)


Head of the Institute

Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Michael Oschwald

Field of Study

Space Propulsion

Main Focus

Physics and technology of chemical, electric, and nuclear space propulsion. Focus on chemical propulsion: propellants, injection, combustion, nozzles, engine components, engine cycles, engine testing

Research Focus

The research focus is on the physics and technologies for launcher main stage and upper stage propulsion engines. This covers experimental investigations of basic processes in rocket combustors at pressure and temperature conditions representative for high thrust rocket engines, investigation into new technologies as well as the development, adapation, and validation of numerical tools.

For the experimental work the test facilities at the DLR Institute of Space Propulsion in Lampoldshausen are available. These facilities range from cold flow laboratory scale setups up to test facilities enabling hot fire tests at pressures as high as 330bar. The main interest is directed to cryogenic (LOX/H2, LOX/hydrocarbon) and storable propulsion.

The activities on combustor technology address propellant injection and atomization, combustion chamber cooling technologies, combustion instabilities, and combustor design.

Supersonic flows in expansion nozzles are investigated experimentally as well with CFD-tools. Specific interest is on flow separation phenomena and an adaptive nozzle concepts. For the simulation of reactive two-phase flows at sub- and supercritical pressures commercial CFD-codes as well as the DLR Tau-code are used.

Engine system analysis deals with cycle and performance analysis with a focus on the transient engine behaviour at engine start-up.

Thermomechanical structural analysis is aiming to develop and validate models for thermomechanical fatigue, hydrogen embrittlement, material failure mechanisms and life prediction.

As a general objective of the experimental activities is the generation of quanitative data for model and code validation optical diagnostics is a key discipline. Experimental methodologies are adapted to the high pressure/high temperature conditions and data reduction schemes are developed to derive data sets to be compared with prediction from analytical and numerical tools.


IST - Institute of Jet Propulsion and Turbomachinery
Templergraben 55
52062 Aachen

Phone:+49 6298 28 327
Fax: +49 6298 28 175

Homepage IST