What We Do

LPL’s current capabilities include engine development, feed system development, test operations and academic studies focusing on liquid propulsion technologies. Although a priority of our lab is to operate at a level close to industry standards, publishing research papers and partaking in academic conferences have great added value for the lab. 

To date, LPL has designed and manufactured five engines; production of three of them were accomplished via additive manufacturing with the help of USC’s Center of Advanced Manufacturing and several companies. During engine development, our team strictly follow industry standards for each phase of the development from beginning to end. Designing, manufacturing, testing and analyzing data at such a level, ensures the life cycles of our engines provide a professional learning experience, independent from the end results.

LPL has developed over 3 unique feed systems for a range different uses: an engine test stand that powers gaseous oxygen/kerosene engines with thrust levels up to 1000 lbf, a vertical test unit that precisely characterizes flow orifices such as injectors, and a portable feed system used to prototype torch igniters. LPL’s feed systems are developed, operated and tested entirely in-house by our members and are continuously improved. Furthermore, the lab is always developing new test stands to expand our capabilities. We anticipate starting the design of a cryogenic rated feed system this year.

LPL has three operational test stands: Hydra, Prometheus, and the Water Flow Test Stand (WFTS). Each of these stands is put through a rigorous testing campaign before they are qualified for full operation. The testing campaign for each system is similar in that they all go through basic proof, leak, and cold-flow testing to ensure that the system can operate at its intended pressure with no leaks during normal flow operations. Brackett Field Airport is our current test site where, all of the aforementioned tests are conducted. Once our systems are ready and qualified for hot-fire (static) testing, the team heads out to the Mojave Desert to Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR) or the Reaction Research Society (RRS) to ignite our engines and igniters.

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