Propulsion at the SUPAERO Space Section

In order to complete the expertise acquired by the SUPAERO Space Section in launchers following its many successes (SCALAR, SERA, KERBEROS, AMIDALA, HYDRA, …) we decided to develop a thruster within the club. We turned to hybrid propulsion primarily for safety reasons. This type of combustion combines a solid fuel and a liquid oxidant to achieve the required performance.

Logo Griffon

Club: SUPAERO Space Section

SUPAERO Space Section brings together all of ISAE-SUPAERO’s experimental rocket projects and associated ground-side systems since its creation in 2010. It gives students the means to design an experimental rocket before making it and then launching it. by participating in C’Space organized by Planète Sciences or specific launch campaigns. Some rockets are entirely at the initiative of the club; others are carried out in partnership with CNES as part of the PERSEUS project.

With a great rise in recent years, the club has established itself as a major player, both within the PERSEUS project and at national events such as C’Space. It is now one of the major European aerospace clubs alongside other actors such as DARE (University of Delft) and was awarded in November 2016 the prize of the Best Association of France – High-Tech category – by “The Classification of Associations “. We again won this award in 2017, confirming the position of our club.

GRIFFON is dedicated to the propulsion of our rockets, which allows us to have expertise on the whole of a rocket within the club. This project is part of a club more dynamic than ever.


A team

The GRIFFON project is led by ISAE-SUPAERO students and benefits from the propulsion expertise of ONERA, the leading French research center in the space sector. The students taking part, whether they come from the ISAE-SUPAERO Engineering or Master program, benefit from the high-level training in engineering and project management to carry out their mission. The transmission of skills and results is a crucial point for us, and is organized as follows: second year students, with one year of experience, ensure good management of the project. Their goal is also to train the other students, get them involved in the project and provide them with the tools and skills required to hand them over at the end of the year. It will be up to them to hold next year’s project.

• Project Manager: Gautier CHAMPION, 2nd year student

• Combustion Manager: Maxime SICAT, 2nd year student

• Embedded Electronics Manager: Xavier GOFFIN, 2nd year student

• Mechanical Managers: Maxime ECKSTEIN, Eric BRUNNER, Emilien MINGARD, 2nd year students

• 4 other 2nd year students

• 6 freshmen

• 6 international students (Master)

The first step of the project is of course to define the project: to choose the main characteristics, to make feasibility studies, to look for partners or to establish a provisional budget. The distribution of tasks is done on different poles: mechanics, electronics, computers and backup. Other areas appear during the project such as the quality team, integration or mechanical / electronic interface.
The diverse backgrounds of the project members, and in particular the presence of international students, bring different and complementary skills, knowledge and techniques, allowing the project to distinguish itself among the aerospace clubs of other institutions. This promotes innovation and maturation of technologies developed during the project in a stimulating and beneficial environment for all. Participating in this project is a real added value to their career by applying the knowledge acquired during their training and the intellectual curiosity necessary for the success of the adventure.

Objective of the project

This thruster must be able to launch rockets developed by the SUPAERO Space Section and thus be entirely manipulable by students. This implies a number of security considerations that were taken into account from the beginning of the project in January 2018. These constraints are in fact a chance to deal with procedures rarely encountered by students and that bring areas of expertise. additional to the club: Operational procedures of shooting, safety file, certification of the tested and launched parts, …

Our goal is to make our first shot during the 2020 edition of the C’Space campaign organized by Planète Sciences.

The first stage consists of development tests at ONERA’s Fauga-Mauzac center in 2019. The main works are the development of concepts, the carrying out of a test campaign and the treatment of results in order to position themselves. on a technological solution.

The second step will be the manufacture of an optimized performance propeller that will undergo a validation campaign at ONERA to confirm its integration into a rocket SUPAERO Space Section.


The research dimension

The security constraint prompted us to move towards hybrid propulsion. This type of propulsion, hybrid between solid propulsion and liquid propulsion, is slightly used in industry (this is the case of Virgin Galactic) and is in the research stage. The ambition is not to revolutionize the world of propulsion but to master and improve the hybrid propulsion technology very interesting for a first step in rocket propulsion. Combustion involves a multitude of physical phenomena that must be understood in order to optimize our engine. The fuel block design is notably linked to a second-year Project Innovation and Research (PIR) on propulsion.


Our partners:



Our school financially supports our project and places at our disposal a room to store our equipment and organize our meetings, and means of production (like the machine shop).



ONERA gives us access to its pyrotechnic testing facilities and offers us invaluable expertise in hybrid propulsion.



Gautier CHAMPION (Project Manager): –

Victor PETOIN (Club President):


Follow us

Twitter: @SupaeroSCube