Research and Test Infrastructure

Test Bench Complex M11

Testing advanced propellants

At the M11 test bench complex, the potential uses of new, advanced propellants and propulsion types for aerospace applications and the expansion of the application profile of known propellants are being investigated. Novel propellants such as ionic liquids, environmentally friendly and hypergolic ignition mixtures, gel-based and hybrid propellant systems, as well as improved hydrocarbon-based propellants and the propulsion systems adapted to them open up promising new areas of application and can make aerospace easier, cheaper and safer.

Areas of application

    • Research and technology development work for the suitability and expansion of the range of applications of both known and new types of propellants for rocket and ramjet propulsion and in-orbit applications
    • Replacement of toxic hydrazine with so-called "green propellants"
    • Use of gelled propellants and investigations to improve combustion efficiency
    • Instability processes in hybrid rocket propulsion systems
    • Research and technology development for propulsion components and propulsion systems with green propellants
    • Advanced control concepts for satellite propulsion systems and space landing vehicles
    • Development of ground test facilities and special measurement technology for green, non-cryogenic propellants for orbital applications



Monopropellants / catalytic propellants in research, development and qualification phases

Hydrogen peroxide, ADN-based propellants, nitromethane-based propellants, premixed fuel-oxidizer mixtures, water-based propellants, microencapsulated propellants, reactive pure substances, explosive substances and pyrotechnic compositions

Bipropellants / hyperols in research and development phases

    • typical oxidizers such as oxygen, compressed air, nitrous oxide, hydrogen peroxide
    • Typical fuels such as ethanol, hydrogen, light hydrocarbons / methane, ethane, ethene, propane, long-chain hydrocarbons, alcohols, ionic liquids, non-Newtonian compounds, nanoparticle additives, microencapsulated compounds

Hybrid combinations in research and development phases

based on kerosene, HTPB, PE, ABS, glycidyl azide polymer (GAP)

Number of test positions

The close cooperation between the test bench and the physical-chemical laboratory makes it possible to carry out detailed chemical analyses of the propellants used and their combustion products. In the physical-chemical laboratory, new fuel mixtures are produced and components for these as well as known fuels are synthesized and characterized. In addition, the compatibility of space components and materials with conventional and novel propellants can be investigated in the physical-chemical laboratory.


Marius Wilhelm

Head of Test Facility
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Space Propulsion
Satellite and Orbital Propulsion
Im Langen Grund, 74239 Hardthausen