This module can be taken as a Short Course for Credit or a Standalone Short Course.

Please go to the 'Upgrade to a professional qualification' section for more information.

The Rocket Motors course provides an understanding of the principles of rocket propulsion and rocket propellant composition and performance.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • 05 - 09 Feb 2024
  • Duration5 days
  • LocationCranfield University at Shrivenham
  • Cost£2,350 - Short Course for Credit fee 

    £1,925 - Standalone Short Course fee  Concessions available

Course structure

One course per year; 5 days duration per course. Divided between traditional lectures, ballistic tutorials and a rocket motor range firing.

What you will learn

On successful completion of the course participants should be able to:

  • Apply the principles of thermodynamics and gas dynamics to rocket propulsion, demonstrating that a solid rocket motor is a self-regulating device;
  • Critically evaluate the principle of charge design applied to examples in the defence and commercial sectors;
  • Evaluate the design of a propellant formulation against the key user requirements of safety, performance and combustion signature;
  • Analyse the latest developments and drivers in the manufacture and design of future rocket propellant formulations.   

Core content

Rocket Propulsion:

  • Principles of reaction propulsion;
  • Fundamental principles of applied thermodynamics and gas dynamics;
  • Mach number, flow function, flow area relationship;
  • Convergent-divergent nozzles;
  • Definitions of propulsion performance criteria;
  • Internal ballistics of solid propellant rocket motors;
  • Charge design for particular applications;
  • Rocket motor components;
  • Thrust vector control methods;
  • Velocity and range equations for accelerating and cruising projectiles.


  • Principles of rocket propellant composition;
  • Properties and applications of cast and extruded double base propellants;
  • Properties and applications of rubbery composite propellants;
  • Properties and applications of liquid monopropellants and bipropellants;
  • New developments in propellant composition and formulation.

Upgrade to a professional qualification

When taken as a Short Course for Credit, 10 credit points can be put towards the Explosives Ordnance Engineering MSc.

Find out more about short course credit points.

Who should attend

Students must have successfully completed the Introduction to Explosives Engineering course or have relevant experience in order to take this as a Short Course for Credit.

There are no prerequisites if taken as a Standalone Short Course.


  • Dr Philip P Gill
  • Dr Derek Bray
  • Martin Sloan - Science & technology lead for energetic materials (MOD, Defence Ordnance Safety Group) and former chief chemist Roxel (UK Rocket Motors) Ltd.
  • Daniel Jubb - Rocket Scientist and managing director of 'The Falcon Project'.


A limited number of MOD sponsored places are available. 

Location and travel

Cranfield Defence and Security (CDS) is a Cranfield School based at the Ministry of Defence establishment on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire borders.

Shrivenham itself lies in the picturesque Vale of the White Horse, close to the M4 motorway which links London and South Wales. It is 7 miles from Swindon, the nearest town, which lies off the M4 at the hub of Britain’s motorway network.

Bath, Cheltenham, Bristol and Oxford are all within an hour’s drive and London less than two hours away by car.

All visitors must be pre-booked in at reception by the person they are visiting on the campus.

For further location and travel details

How to apply

To apply for this course please use the online application form.

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.