Rocket Propulsion

By Prof. K. Ramamurthi, Prof. V. Nagabhushana Rao   |   IIT Madras
Learners enrolled: 646
The fundamental aspects of rockets and the current trends in rocket propulsion are dealt with in this course. Starting with description of motion in space, the requirements of rockets for placing space-crafts in different orbits and escaping the gravitational fields of the planets are examined. The operating principles and design aspects of solid propellant, liquid propellant, electrical, nuclear and other types of rockets are dealt with. INTENDED AUDIENCE : BE/ME/MS/MSc/PhD PREREQUISITES : NIL INDUSTRY SUPPORT : DRDO, ISRO, HAL, Space and Defense-related industries
Course Status : Upcoming
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 12 weeks
Start Date : 24 Jan 2022
End Date : 15 Apr 2022
Exam Date : 23 Apr 2022 IST
Category :
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Propulsion
Credit Points : 3
Level : Undergraduate/Postgraduate

Course layout

Week 1 : Chap 1: Motion in Space Lec 1: Introduction Lec 2: Motion in Space Lec 3: Rotational Frame of Reference and Orbital Velocities Week 2 : Lec 4: Velocity Requirements Chap 2: Theory of Rockets Lec 5: Theory of rocket propulsion Lec 6: Rocket Equation and Staging of Rockets Week 3 : Lec 7: Review of Rocket Principles: Propulsion Efficiency Chap 3: Nozzles Lec 8: Examples Illustrating Theory of Rocket Propulsion and Introduction to Nozzles. Lec 9: Theory of Nozzles Week 4 : Lec 10: Nozzle Shape Lec 11: Area Ratio of Nozzles: Under Expansion and Over Expansion Lec 12: Characteristic Velocity and Thrust Coefficient Week 5 : Lec 13: Divergence Loss in Conical Nozzles and the Bell Nozzles Lec 14: Unconventional Nozzles and Problems in Nozzles Chap 4: Propellants Lec 15: Criterion for Choice of Chemical Propellants Week 6 : Lec 16: Choice of Fuel-Rich Propellants Lec 17: Performance Prediction Analysis Lec 18: Factors Influencing Choice of Chemical Propellants Week 7 : Lec 19: Low energy liquid propellants and Hybrid propellants Chap 5: Solid Propellant Rockets Lec 20: Introduction to Solid Propellant Rockets Lec 21: Burn Rate of Solid Propellants and Equilibrium Pressure in Solid Propellant Rockets. Week 8 : Lec 22: Design Aspects of Solid Propellant Rockets. Lec 23: Burning Surface Area of Solid Propellant Grains. Lec 24: Ignition of Solid Propellant Rockets. Week 9 : Lec 25: Review of Solid Propellant Rockets. Lec 26: Feed Systems for Liquid Propellant Rockets. Lec 27: Feed System Cycles for Pump Fed Liquid Propellant Rockets. Week 10 : Lec 28: Analysis of Gas Generator and Staged combustion cycles and introduction to injectors Lec 29: Injectors, Cooling of Chambers and Mixture Ratio Distribution Lec 30: Efficiencies due to mixture ratio distribution and incomplete vaporization. Week 11 : Lec 31: Pumps and Turbines: Propellant Feed System at Zero ā€œgā€ Conditions. Lec 32: Review of Liquid Bi-propellant Rockets and Introduction to Mono-propellant Rockets. Lec 33: Introduction to Hybrid Rockets and a Simple Illustration of Combustion instability in Liquid Propellant Rockets. Week 12 : Lec 34: Principles of Electrostatic and Electromagnetic Rockets. Lec 35: Electrical Thrusters. Lec 36: Electrical and Nuclear Rockets; Advanced Propulsion.

Books and references

1. Thermodynamics of Propulsion: Hill and Patterson 2. Rocket Propulsion: K. Ramamurthi 3. Understanding Aerospace Chemical Propulsion: HS Mukunda 4. Elements of Rocket Propulsion: Sutton

Instructor bio

Prof. K. Ramamurthi

K. Ramamurthi worked in ISRO and thereafter in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at IIT Madras. He is presently Chairman of the Combustion and Shock Wave Panel (CDSW) of ARMREB in DRDO and Chairman of Extramural Research in Combustion of SERB. His research interests are in detonation, blast waves, combustion instability and thermodynamics.

Prof. V. Nagabhushana Rao

IIT Madras
Dr. V. Nagabhushana Rao is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at IIT Madras. He pursued his Ph.D at Cambridge University, U.K. His research interests include coupled interactions in turbomachines, transition to turbulence, CFD (DNS/LES), combustion and high performance computing.

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 23 April 2022 Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 8 assignments out of the total 12 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Madras .It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

MHRD logo Swayam logo


Goto google play store