Project RHEA

Hybrid Rocket Engine

Team RHEA, named after the greek goddess, is developing a first-generation hybrid rocket engine and a test facility in parallel since September 2018 to lay the foundation for future engine development projects.

Focus of Project RHEA

The main goal of project RHEA is to pave the way for ARIS’ own developed hybrid rocket engine which will then be integrated into ARIS rockets for the Spaceport America Cup from 2021 onwards. To achieve this, the first generation of a hybrid rocket engine will be developed, and a test facility will be set up.
A small team of 9 students is currently defining the project, establishing
the first concepts for the testing infrastructure and the engine as well as
bringing together partners from academia and industry.


As a first step, a 500N hybrid rocket engine is developed laying the foundation for future engine developments at ARIS. This engine will be designed, manufactured and tested until the end of 2019.


The second generation will be developed by the ETH Focus Project IRIDE, aiming for a thurst of 5000N. Different nozzle types and grain structures will be tested to increase the performance.


To test the engine, project RHEA will set up a test facility with a fluid supply system for the oxidizer as well as a data acquisition and control system to control the valves.

Test Facility

Two shipping containers are used as an enclosure in which the whole test equipment is integrated. The containers are divided into three compartments: engine compartment, fluid supply system (FSS) compartment and data acquisition and control system (DACS) compartment.

To validate the test infrastructure, a small scale hybrid rocket engine with a peak thrust of approximately 500N and a burn time of 10s was designed and manufactured. This first-generation engine will help to understand the hybrid engines’ working principles by allowing to study grain regression rates, the effect of injector geometries and of the pre- and post-combustion chamber.

Engine compartement

Contains a test bench on which the engine is mounted, and the thrust generated by the engine can be measured.

FSS compartement

Stores and transports the oxidizer into the combustion chamber of the engine located in the engine compartment.

DACS compartement

Contains all electronic modules to receives the sensor signals and to control the Fluid Supply System and the ignition.


Test Containers

It was a moment of great joy when the containers arrived at our basis at ETH Hönggerberg. First, the 20ft container for the engine and FSS followed by the smaller 10ft container for data acquisition.


Assembling the system

During June and July, the system was united. First, the shielding plates, which separate the engine and FSS compartment, and the testbench were integrated, followed by the FSS system and cable trays. In parallel, the electronic boxes were assembled.


Test campaign

The system assembly was being finalized in October 2019, and the facility was moved to Ochsenboden for the testing campaign in November and Decemeber 2019. After completing the dry test and a cold flow test, the rocket engine will finally have its first hot fire in the end of 2019.

Our Team

This first-ever student-built test stand was developed by a small group of 9 students consisting of mechanical & electrical engineer and material scientist. 

Christoph Germann

Project Manager

Nicolas Streit

System Engineer

Davide Frey

System Engineer

Lukas Hauser


Shady Elshater

Test Facility

Nemanja Stojoski


Kaju Bubanja


Andrea Schorn

Subsystem Tests & Grain