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Liquid Propulsion: Propellant Feed System DesignThe propellant feed system of a liquid rocket engine determines how the propellants are delivered from the tanks to the thrust chamber. They are generally classified as either pressure fed or pump fed. The pressure-fed system is simple and relies on tank pressures to feed the propellants into the thrust chamber. This type of system is typically used for space propulsion applications and auxiliary propulsion applications requiring low system pressures and small quantities of propellants. In contrast, the pump-fed system is used for high pressure, high performance applications. The selection of one propellant feed system over another is determined based on design trade studies at both the engine and vehicle levels. This chapter first provides a brief overview of the basic configurations of pressure-fed systems. Pump-fed systems are then discussed with greater detail given to the turbomachinery design. Selected design requirements and configurations are provided.
Document ID
Document Type
Book Chapter
Cannon, James L. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2010
Publication Information
Publication: Encyclopedia of Aerospace Engineering
Volume: 2
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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