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Our research is focused on predicting the reliability of high-altitude lased-induced ignition in a small thrust chamber of a re-startable methalox rocket engine. Successful and repeatable ignition is key to attitude control and injection of spacecrafts in orbit.

Figure 1: CAD rendering of the PSAAP-III rocket combustor.

We focus on a revolutionary ignition method that employs miniaturized nano-second high-energy laser pulses. This is a promising technology currently under active development in the space industry, but the existing reliability assessments have been mostly based on experiments because of a number of challenges associated with modeling and simulation of laser-induced ignition of cryogenic propellants. We are headed toward breaking this barrier and enabling simulation-based predictions of laser-induced ignition reliability by using advanced codes that can operate in Exascale computing environments and be ported seamlessly across heterogeneous supercomputers.