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Chemical Propulsion Research Complex

The Chemical Propulsion Research Complex (CPRC) develops advanced chemical propulsion concepts and evaluates safer propellants for launch vehicles, spacecraft thrusters and advanced ignition systems for next generation launch vehicles. It has the capability to perform sea level and simulated altitude testing, as well as advanced plume diagnostics. Workhorse hardware is available to perform component level testing. The testing facilities that comprise the research complex are highly configurable and able to meet varying customer needs. These facilities include the Altitude Combustion Stand (ACS), and CPRC cells 31 and 32.

Facility Overview

ACS 100 lbf LOx/LCH4 Engine.
Altitude Combustion Stand (ACS) 100 lbf liquid oxygen/LCH4 engine.

Altitude Combustion Stand

The ACS facility provides a system to test combustion components at a simulated altitude. The facility is equipped with an axial thrust stand, gaseous and cryogenic liquid propellant feed systems, water-cooled diffuser, data acquisition systems, video recording systems, facility control system, spray cooler and multi-stage vacuum ejector system. This facility has been used for testing since 2009. Propellant capabilities include GH2, GO2, LH2, LO2 and LCH4. The system can accommodate engines up to 2,000 pounds of thrust and combustion chamber pressure to 1,000 psia. Depending on the size, engines can be fired at sea level or into a test tank that is evacuated to simulated altitude up to 100,000 feet.

CPRC Cell 32 Additively Manufactured Component Testing.
Chemical Propulsion Research Complex (CPRC) Cell 32 Additively Manufactured Component Testing.

CPRC Cell 31/32

Cells 31 and 32 are both chemical propulsion test stands. Propellants include GH2, GO2 and LO2.Water can be used to cool the test article.

Quick Facts

Altitude Combustion Stand
Name: Altitude Combustion Stand (ACS)
  • Hydrocarbon, LN2, GN2 and GHe feed systems
  • Vacuum test chamber
  • Steady-state and transient data acquisition systems
  • Video recording system
Simulated altitude
  • 0 to 100,000 feet
Available propellants
  • LH2, GH2 and LO2(conditioned and unconditioned); GO2 and LCH4(conditioned)
Chemical Propulsion Research Complex (CPRC) Cells 31/32
Name: Chemical Propulsion Research Complex (CPRC) cells 31/32
Propellants available: GH2, GO2 and LO2
Available cooling fluids: Water


Altitude Combustion Stand

Propellant Volume Pressure, psi (MPa) Flow rate, lbm/s (kg/s) Inlet conditioning, R
LH2 200 gal (757.08 L) 1,800 (12.41) 1.5 (0.68) N/A
GH2 140,000 scf (3,962.82 SCM) 2,400 (16.55) 2.6 (1.36) N/A
LO2 (unconditioned) 200 gal (757.08 L) 1,800 (12.41) 7 (3.18) N/A
LO2 (conditioned) 60 gal (227.13 L) 525 (3.62) 0.5 (0.23) 145° to 243° ±5°
GO2 60,000 scf (1,698.35 SCM) 2,400 (16.55) 7 (3.18) N/A
LCH4 (conditioned) 60 gal (227.13 L) 525 (3.62) 0.16 (0.07) 170° to 304 ° ±5°
Green Propellant AF-M315E 12 gal (45 L) 900 (6.21) 0.11 (0.05) 509° to 582°

Facility Benefits

Commercial Applications

Chemical Propulsion Research Complex Cell 31/32

Propellant Volume Maximum supply pressure, psi (MPa) Flow rate, lbm/s (kg/s)
GH2 70,000 scf (1,981.41 SCM) 2,400 (16.55) 1.7 (0.75)
LO2 45 gal (170 L) 1,500 (10.34) 7.0 (3.15)
GO2 60,000 scf (1.698.35 SCM) 2,400 (16.55) 7.0 (3.15)
Water (cooling 150 gal (567.81 L) 1,500 (10.34) 130 gal/min (492.10 L/min)

Facility Benefits


Chemical Propulsion Research Complex
Facility Manager: Kyle Phillips

Test Facility Management Branch
Branch Chief: Michael S. McVetta

Using Our Facilities

NASA’s Glenn Research Center provides ground test facilities to industry, government, and academia. If you are considering testing in one of our facilities or would like further information about a specific facility or capability, please let us know.

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