Propulsion Development

It is a popular misconception that all non-governmental groups who build their own rockets, can be classed as amateur. This is not the case. "Amateur" rocketry is a term applied to groups or individuals who not only design and build their own rockets, but also design the rocket propulsion systems that propel them. In 1997, members of the MARS group first took the step from the relative safety of "High Power" model rocketry into true amateur rocketry, with the construction of the BK-Flamer hybrid rocket motor.

MARS decided early on, that any rocket motor development the group may wish to undertake, would concentrate on "hybrid" rocket motors. Unlike the legally restricted and dangerous world of solid rocket motors, and the complexity of liquid rocket engines, a hybrid motor is a concept that combines the best of both worlds.
A hybrid motor utilises a fuel and oxidiser stored in different physical states - usually an inert solid fuel, and a liquid or gaseous oxidiser. MARS chose to use Nitrous Oxide as our oxidiser for all our hybrid development, due to its relatively benign handling requirements and accessibility. Burnt along with solid fuels such as high density polyethylene or metallised binders, this can deliver performance equal to that of modern factory made solid rocket motors. Nitrous Oxide also has the advantage of being self-pressurising, eliminating the need for complex pressurant or pump systems.

MARS have to date, developed and flight tested a number of hybrid rocket motors, ranging from 9kg to 300kg in average thrust.

B4 Hybrid BKF Hybrid PTV Hybrid Static Testing