History

History of LPL

The Liquid Propulsion Laboratory was founded by three students who were involved with the Rocket Propulsion Laboratory (RPL) at USC. Two of these founders were PhD students that wanted to make a liquid rocket engine before they graduated from USC. They made a Kerosene-Nitrous Oxide (KNOX) engine and decided, with a friend of theirs, to start a student group that focused on liquid propulsion. They talked with the Astronautical Engineering (ASTE) department and officially founded the group during the summer of 2015.

Firing of KNOX engine
Firing of KNOX engine

After the KNOX engine, LPL started design work on Blue Steel, a gaseous oxygen (GOX)-Kerosene engine with a nominal thrust of 4.5 kN. Blue Steel has been fired 5 times so far.

Blue Steel 1.0 firing
Blue Steel 1.0 firing

In Spring 2017 the feed system was completely redesigned along with a new mobile test stand called Hydra. Work on this stand was completed in  Fall 2018. Using this test stand LPL conducted the first successful firing of LPL on December 2, 2018.

First successful firing of Hydra integrated Test Stand and Blue Steel 2.0 engine
First successful firing of Hydra integrated Test Stand and Blue Steel 2.0 engine