Development of an S-Shaped Pulse Detonation Engine for a Sounding Rocket

Valentin Buyakofu, Ken Matsuoka, Koichi Matsuyama, Akira Kawasaki, Hiroaki Watanabe, Noboru Itouyama, Keisuke Goto, Kazuki Ishihara, Tomoyuki Noda, Jiro Kasahara, Akiko Matsuo, Ikkoh Funaki, Daisuke Nakata, Masaharu Uchiumi, Hiroto Habu, Shinsuke Takeuchi, Satoshi Arakawa, Junichi Masuda, Kenji Maehara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the results of an S-shaped pulse detonation engine (PDE) ground firing test in the form of a detonation engine system. The world’s first technology demonstration of PDE in space using a sounding rocket is planned, and the aim is to control the rocket spin rate in the axial direction using pulsed detonation. The PDE operation at full sequence was successful. The despin rate change of the rocket between continuous oxygen supply and successful PDE operation is expected to be 0.95 deg ∕s per run. This change in despin rate can be measured by an onboard gyro sensor, making the system flyable. The test results were compared with data from thrust measurement tests conducted in a laboratory, the results of which confirmed the thrust generation under an ambient pressure of 0.5 0.1 kPa. The average thrust values in the thrust measurement experiments showed good agreement of 101 3% with a quasi-steady-state model introduced to predict the PDE thrust. These results demonstrate the feasibility of the newly developed PDE and its system as the world’s first technology demonstration of detonation propulsion in space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)850-860
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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