Indoor Rocket Propulsion Test Facilities
21 Mar 2018



The ‘Rocket Lab’ within the SEC has hybrid and bi-propellant rocket test facilities for research into rocket engine design and can provide a range of high quality evaluation and data analysis options.


​​Bi-propellant rocket engine in Kingston's rocket test cell and external view of cell​​​


The indoor propulsion test facility within the School of Engineering and Computing has a hybrid and bipropellant rocket test facility. The facility is used for propulsion testing of systems up to the low kN trust range and can provide a range of high-quality evaluation and data analysis options.

The Kingston University London indoor propulsion test facility is an indoor blast chamber that allows for the testing and research of small to medium sized propulsion systems (up to low kN thrust levels). The facility can withstand a 120g TNT equivalent blast whilst firing a system with an overpressure of 3 psi, whilst an extraction system is removing around 3m3 of air a second.

The facility has been designed to operate propulsion systems that operate with a maximum pressure of 70BarA. Current approved oxidizers and/or flammable propellants, with maximum flowrates (as dictated by insurance purposes) include:

  • Oxygen – 83g/s
  • Butane – 20g/s
  • Propane – 23g/s
  • Nitrous Oxide – No stated limit

To add additional oxidizers or flammable propellants to the approved list will cost a one-off payment of £10k for a full safety report (conducted by an industrial subcontractor).

Restriction on propellants are based on the by-products produced and are reviewed on a case by case basis. Generally, carbon dioxide, water and carbon monoxide are currently acceptable by-products.

Kingston's new rocket test chamber

Additionally, there is:

  • A 300 BarA rated pressure vessel for high pressure testing of small components.
  • A high-end Data Acquisition (DAQ) system developed by Airborne Engineering.
  • A test stand rated to 3kN but can measure between a range of 50N to 2kN.

Please get in touch for a complete system description for this facility.

Kingston University London is happy to collaborate with other Universities, Industries and Institutes in their propulsion testing needs. Please do get in contact via email or over the phone to discuss opportunities further.

Student Discount: We aim to help Undergraduate students from other Universities with their final year projects as best as we can, charging minimal costs for use of our facility.

A video, taken in March 2020, post facility chamber installation but before the electrics were added, explains some of the other features available. Please see the video here:

Interior of the rocket test chamber