Aerospace Systems Research Group (ASReG)


The Aerospace Systems Research Group (ASReG) is located within the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Discipline of Mechanical Engineering. ASReG was formed in 2009 by Jean Pitot and Michael Brooks. We are a small but focused group with graduate students currently enrolled in the Masters and Doctoral research programmes. We conduct applied research in rocket propulsion and associated technologies such as thermal management and launch systems.

ASReG has two aims:

  • to develop aerospace technologies related to rockets and space vehicles.
  • to develop human skills in aerospace engineering.

ASReG focuses on the design, manufacture and testing of rocket propulsion systems, and has a limited number of places available annually in its postgraduate programme. Because our MScEng degree is a research-based Masters qualification, the number of places depends on specific programme needs, our supervision capacity and the availability of project funding. The degree takes approximately two years of full-time, on-campus work. The PhD is also a research based programme. Our work involves designing and operating technically complex engineering systems that employ high-pressure, high-temperature and chemically energetic processes.

What we look for in postgraduate students

Our work carries significant technical risk that must be mitigated through strict adherence to safety protocols. Because of the challenging nature of our work (it is rocket science!) applicants to our programme must be in possession of a 4-year BScEng or BEng degree in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering (BTech and NDip are not accepted) with an excellent overall record and outstanding results in the following subject areas:

  • Thermodynamics
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Computational Analysis (CFD and FEA)
  • Heat and Mass Transfer
  • Mechanical Design

A strong ability in computer coding (eg MATLAB) is also preferred. Please note that from 2020, all ASReG postgraduate students must have taken UKZN’s Rocket Propulsion I (ENME4RP) undergraduate elective for admission to the programme. Successful external applicants will be required to register for the module, and any others deemed necessary, during the first year of their degree.

Our postgraduate students are passionate about aerospace engineering, talented in both engineering theory and workshop practice, and hard-working with the academic results to show for it. These are the characteristics we seek in applicants to our programme. The pace of our work is fast, the challenges are immense and the work is demanding, but the rewards are also incomparable, so if you believe you meet these requirements, please contact us!