Facilities

ASRI Propulsion Test Facility (PTF)

The Propulsion Test Facility is currently in the design phase and is intended to enable rapid testing and prototyping of liquid rocket engines and aerospace subsystems. The PTF will include multiple cells for batched engine qualification tests and has the capacity to test a full duration burn of an upper stage SAFFIRE engine.

Mobile Liquid Rocket Engine Test Facility

The Mobile Liquid Rocket Engine Test Facility operates using a regulated propellant blow down feed system. This facility was constructed to validate the design and performance of the ABLE engine and has undergone upgrades to enable ASRI engineers to test the first iteration of the SAFFIRE engine.

ASRI Sounding Rocket Launch Facility (SRLF)

The Sounding Rocket Launch Facility comprises a slewable gantry able to elevate and launch suborbital solid, hybrid and liquid rockets to a 90° elevation. Azimuthal control spans -180° to 180°. The gantry can accommodate vehicles with launch mass of up to 2,500 kg on its 15 m long rail.

Subscale Propulsion Test Facility (SPTF)

The ASRI Subscale Propulsion Test Facility is located in UKZN’s Mechanical Engineering building and is designed to test small liquid bi-propellant rocket engines, hybrid rocket motors, monopropellant thrusters and ignition devices in a safe environment. The facility has a reinforced test cell, separated propellant feed systems and its own dedicated DAC system.

Propellants Laboratory

The ASRI Propellants Laboratory is involved in synthesizing and analysing diverse propellants utilized in ASRI’s space propulsion programme. A central objective of this laboratory is to optimize propellant performance while mitigating risk to operators. A particular focus of the laboratory is its research into novel monopropellant compounds and evaluating and the impact of gelling agents to improve both performance and handling characteristics.

ASRI Assembly and Integration Facility (AIF)

ASRI’s Assembly and Integration area enables the manufacture and assembly of rocket propulsion and airframe subsystems. The workshop has demarcated areas for material processing, electronic operations, fabrication, assembly and testing, including areas for ASRI personnel to undertake cold flow tests of injectors and related subsystems.

ASRI Mobile Rocket Launch Platform (MRLP)

The MRLP is a mobile launch gantry that ASRI uses to conduct hybrid rocket launches and static ground tests of hybrid motors. It provides ASRI with an automated propellant loading capability for use with Phoenix rockets, which is controlled remotely via a National Instruments LabVIEW launch sequencing program. It has served the institute well for over 10 years and successfully enabled the flight testing of multiple Phoenix vehicles.