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Spacecraft Propulsion 1

Module MW2120

This Module is offered by Chair of Space Propulsion (Prof. Manfletti).

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of WS 2013/4

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
WS 2022/3SS 2020WS 2017/8WS 2013/4

Basic Information

MW2120 is a module in language at which is offered irregularly.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Catalogue of non-physics elective courses
Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h  h 5 CP

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


In the lecture "Raumfahrtantriebe 1", the fundamentals of rocket propulsion technology are conveyed using the example of commercial space transport systems. In addition to the basic concepts of orbital mechanics, typical characteristics of rocket engines are introduced and discussed. Liquid-propellant rocket engines constitute a major topic of the lectures. Fuel types, construction methods, the individual thrust chamber components, and turbopump units are explained separately. The special features of auxiliary and satellite engines are discussed separately. Also, the main features and characteristics of the groups of solid and hybrid propellants, ramjets, as well as electrical and nuclear rocket propulsion systems are examined. In addition to the fundamentals, special features of current engine developments are given, as well as insights into the industrial environment and the European organization of the rocket propulsion business. The lecture is complemented and deepened by exercises which the students can use in self-studying.

Learning Outcome

After taking part in the "Rocket Propulsion 1" course, the students can define important terms of the rocket technique and name important influencing variables. They can understand the complexity of the processes in rocket propulsion. It is possible for them to analyze real rocket engines using simplified replacement models about essential characteristics and to evaluate them using their performance characteristics.


Thermodynamics 1, Fluid Mechanics 1, Gas dynamics

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VO 2 Spacecraft Propulsion 1 (MW2120) Dengler, S. Wed, 08:30–10:00, MW 0350
UE 1 Exercise Spacecraft Propulsion 1 (MW2120) Dengler, S. Thu, 16:45–17:30, MW 0350
Thu, 16:45–17:30, MW 0350

Learning and Teaching Methods

In the course, the content of the lectures is given by oral and media presentation. In the summer semester, the lectures will be held in German and during the winter semester in English. Concepts and basic relationships are presented and deepened using real applications or computer examples. The presentation of the lectures, additional information, and exercises with sample solutions, as well as a comprehensive questionnaire for self-studying are provided by the TUM learning platform. A special exam questions period is held shortly before the examination date. Individual questions can be discussed directly after the lecture with the lecturers or in the assistant lecturer's office (by scheduling an appointment). A non-compulsory teaching excursion complements the module.


Oral exposition, media presentation, laptop PC with beamer, and handouts. In the exercises, important relations are repeated, and one of the exercises is pre-calculated. Further exercises with sample solutions are provided for self-study.


George P. Sutton, Oscar Biblarz: "Rocket Propulsion Elements"; 7th Ed., Wiley-Interscience, 2000, ISBN 0-471-32642-9

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

The learning success is verified using a written exam consisting of two parts of approximately same size equally weighted. The first part is a short questionnaire which checks the knowledge of the subject-specific basic concepts and essential principles. In the subsequent calculation part, the student is supposed to apply the mathematical relationships presented in the lectures to various problems in the area of liquid and solid propellant rocket propulsion. The written exam lasts 90 minutes: 45 minutes for the short questions and 45 minutes for the calculation part. No tools are allowed for the short questions section, while all tools are allowed for the calculation part. Each semester the written exam is offered in both German and English language.
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