Advanced Solid Rockets – Online Short Course (Starts 24 Sept 2024) 24 September - 10 October 2024 Online

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  • From 24 September – 10 October, 2024 (3 Weeks, 6 Lecture Blocks/Classes, 12 Total Hours)
  • Every Tuesday and Thursday 1–3 p.m. Eastern Time (all sessions will be recorded and available for replay; course notes will be available for download)
  • Instructed by the AIAA Solid Rockets Technical Committee, consisting of the world’s leading experts in solid rocket research and technology.
  • All students will receive an AIAA Certificate of Completion at the end of the course

Solid rocket propulsion systems are important for space, launch, tactical, and strategic vehicles. This course presents fundamental themes and advanced concepts related to solid rockets. Both theoretical and practical aspects of the field are covered. Individual presentations include basic principles of solid rocket motor (SRM) processes, broad description of rocket motor and system design principles, internal ballistics modeling, propellant fundamentals, component design (motor case, nozzle, and igniters), component and motor manufacturing, combustion instability, and motor failures.


  • Understand basic principles of SRM processes
  • Understand broad rocket motor and system design principles
  • Understand internal ballistics modeling and combustion instability
  • Understand propellant fundamentals
  • Understand component design
  • Understand motor manufacturing
  • Understand testing and failures

AUDIENCE: This course is intended for engineers and scientists in the rocket propulsion industry, and from academic institutes and research organizations who are involved in solid rocket motor research, testing, design, development, and analysis. It also targets engineers and managers who oversee and interface with solid rocket motor contractors.

COURSE FEES (Sign-In To Register)
- AIAA Member Price: $845 USD
- Non-Member Price: $1045 USD
- AIAA Student Member Price: $495 USD

Classroom hours / CEUs: 12 classroom hours / 1.2 CEU/PDH

Cancellation Policy: A refund less a $50.00 cancellation fee will be assessed for all cancellations made in writing prior to 5 days before the start of the event. After that time, no refunds will be provided.

Contact: Please contact Lisa Le or Customer Service if you have questions about the course or group discounts (for 5+ participants).



  • Motor Overview
  • Motor Design
  • Propellant Fundamentals
  • Ballistics
  • Combustion Instability
  • Igniter Design
  • System Engineering and Trades
  • Case Design
  • Nozzle Design
  • Motor Manufacturing
  • Components, Materials, and Processes
  • Testing and Verification
  • Failure Investigations
  • Advanced Concepts

Course Delivery and Materials

  • The course lectures will be delivered via Zoom. You can test your connection here:
  • All sessions will be available on-demand within 1-2 days of the lecture. Once available, you can stream the replay video anytime, 24/7. All slides will be available for download after each lecture.
  • No part of these materials may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted, unless for course participants. All rights reserved.
  • Between lectures, the instructors will be available via email for technical questions and comments.


This course is organized and taught by industry leading experts from the AIAA Solid Rockets Technical Committee.

Dr. Helmut Ciezki
Dr. Helmut Ciezki is working since 1991 at the Institute of Space Propulsion of the German Aerospace Center DLR, where he headed amongst others the propellants department. He is currently Coordinator for Advanced Propellants and Propulsion Systems. He also serves as a lecturer at the University of Stuttgart and the University of Cooperative Education at Mosbach. He is an AIAA Fellow, associate editor of the “International Journal of Energetic Materials and Chemical Propulsion,” and member of the editorial advisory board of the Journal “Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics” (PEP). His fields of interest include multiphase combustion and mixing processes; gel propulsion; advanced propellants; particle combustion; and combustion processes for ramjets/ scramjets as well as chemical propellant rockets including liquid, solid, and hybrid fuels. 

Prof. Joseph Majdalani
Joe Majdalani serves as Francis Chair of Excellence and Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Auburn University. He previously served as the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council Endowed Professor and Department Chair as well as the Jack D. Whitfield Professor and H. H. Arnold Chair of Excellence in Advanced Propulsion at the University of Tennessee Space Institute. His academic career began as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Utah (1990) and then as an Assistant/Associate Professor at Marquette University. He has taught for nearly 30 years courses on rocket propulsion, aerodynamics, aeroacoustics, combustion, and perturbation theory. Dr. Majdalani is known for his work on acoustic instability theory and vortex-driven rocket engine technology encompassing solid, liquid, and hybrid rocket applications. He is a Fellow of ASME, Fellow of AIAA, Past Chair of the Hybrid (2015-2017) and Solid Rockets (2017-2019) Technical Committees, Region II Deputy Director of Technical Activities (2021-present), Director of Honors & Awards within the Greater Huntsville Section (3 terms), AIAA Short Course Instructor, Editorial Board Member of Aerospace and Physics of Fluids. His interests span rocket engine design and optimization, rocket internal ballistics, vorticity dynamics, computational mathematics, and singular perturbation theory. His research activities since 1997 have materialized in over 330 publications, mostly in the field of rocket propulsion, that have attracted over 19,000 citations. 

Prof. Robert Frederick
Professor Robert A. Frederick, Jr. is a highly accomplished researcher and academician with a strong background in aerospace engineering and propulsion systems. He presently serves as Professor and Director of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) Propulsion Research Center. He has over 36 years of experience in propulsion research and design. He received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1988 in solid propellant combustion. Throughout his career, Dr. Frederick has secured numerous research grants and contracts totaling approximately $16 million and has collaborated with various government agencies, including NASA and the Department of Defense, as well as industry partners, to conduct cutting-edge research in propulsion systems. His research interests include innovative propulsion concepts for solid DACS systems, solid propellant combustion, combustion stability of liquid injectors, hybrid fuel combustion, aerospace vehicle design, solid rocket motor dynamic seals, fuel insulation, and liner materials studies, as well as the development of advanced propulsion systems for hypersonic air-breathing engines. He has also contributed to the development of new paradigms for transcritical injection and nuclear thermal propulsion systems. Dr. Frederick has published extensively in top-tier journals and has presented his research at numerous conferences worldwide. He has also served as a reviewer for several prestigious journals and has been actively involved in mentoring students and junior researchers in the field. Dr. Frederick’s contributions to the field have been recognized with several awards, including the Dannenberg Educator of the Year and AIAA Best Paper Awards. Moreover, his team has won the national AIAA Northrop Corporation Graduate Team Missile Design Competition Award. He is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA, a national organizer of Propulsion Education sessions for ASEE, and has served as a representative to NATO on solid propellant burning rate measurements.

Dr. Mark Langhenry
Dr. Mark Langhenry received his PhD from Auburn University in 1985. He was employed by Lockheed Martin in Denver, CO where he helped develop and integrate large Solid Rocket Motors into space launch vehicles including the Titan IVB. He was the lead propulsion engineer on the team that developed the strap-on SRMs for the Atlas V launch vehicle. From 2005 to 2019 Dr. Langhenry was employed with Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ as Senior Staff in the Energetics and Propulsion Department where he is involved in Solid Rocket Motor development and integration for various missile systems. He is currently an adjunct lecturer in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Arizona teaching undergraduate and graduate classes in Aerospace Engineering.

Dr. Jamie B. Neidert
Dr. Jamie Neidert got his BS in Chemistry from the University of North Alabama in 1982 and his Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry in 1986 from the Vanderbilt University. He was employed at Thiokol Corporation and Atlantic Research Corporation and he works since 2003 at the US Army Redstone Arsenal.
Dr. Neidert has worked in Minimum Signature (MS) and composite propellant development as well as commercial airbags and fire suppression devices. He has supported rocket motor and commercial airbag production, as well as many US Government (DoD) agencies and activities regarding raw material obsolescence, Insensitive Munitions (IM) and Environmental compliance. He authored over 60 papers and has 10 patents.

Samuel Schlueter
Sam received his bachelors in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from The Ohio State University in 1984. From 1985 through 1993 he worked as a scientific programmer and a ballistics engineer at Aerojet in Sacramento California and Iuka Mississippi developing burning rate measurement methods and aiding in the design of many igniters and solid rocket motors including the Space Shuttle ASRM. From 1994 through 1997 he developed 2nd and 3rd generation automotive airbag inflators and propellants for Breed Technologies. From 1997 through 2018 he returned to Aerojet in Sacramento where he designed many igniters and SRMs, and eventually became the ballistics engineering fellow. Since 2019 Sam has been a Ballistics Subject Matter Expert for the NASA Launch Services Program where he focuses on the reliability of the Atlas V and Vulcan SRBs (GEM 63 & Gem 63XL). Sam has spent his career developing design and analysis methods and programs, and enjoys mentoring the next generation of engineers. 

Dr. Fred S. Blomshield received his B.S. and M.S. and PhD degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Purdue University with majors in aerodynamics, propulsion, and stability and control. He worked for NAVAIR (Naval Air Systems Command) at the Naval Air Warfare Center at China Lake, CA for over 32 years. He has worked in ramjet combustion instability, the prediction and analysis of solid rocket motor instability, propellant optimization, solid propellant response function measurement and theoretical composite solid propellant combustion modeling. For the last 15 years at China Lake, he was head of the Combustion Sciences Branch which performed work in a variety of areas related to solid propellant combustion including propulsion system hazards, combustion diagnostics, combustion instability, shipboard fire sciences, combustion modeling and air breathing combustion studies. He retired from the Navy in August of 2012. He is author or co-author of over 150 technical reports and papers from 1981 to the present. He continues to consult for the Navy and other rocket motor industries and Universities. He is a NAVAIR Research & Engineering Fellow, which represents the top 0.75 percent of NAVAIR Scientists and an Associate AIAA Fellow.

Ed Casillas
Ed received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from San Jose State University in 1979 and completed various graduate studies in Mechanical Engineering until 1985. He retired in 2018 with more than 35 years of experience at CSD and Aerojet in lead, support, or managing capacity of systems analysis and preliminary SRM propulsion design and trade studies. He worked on multiple programs from large to small launch vehicles, and strategic missiles to tactical missiles. He was Aerojet’s go-to guy for system level trade studies. 

Dr. Karl Naumann
Karl received his master in Mechanical Engineering in 1981 and his Doctorate in 1984 in Mechanical Engineering both from the University of Karlsruhe. From 1985 until 1998 he worked as a scientist at the German-French Research Institute ISL on high enthalpy gas dynamics, hypersonic technologies, aeroballistics, aerothermodynamics, ram accelerator and measuring techniques.
In 1999 he joined Bayern-Chemie. Till 2006 he served as Head of Technology Programs and in parallel as Head of Development and Technology departments, and from 2007 to 2021 as Director of Strategy and Business Development. He has managed or worked on technology programs such as: the SRM for the hypervelocity Ma-7 testbed missile HFK, the flight demonstrations of the Double-Pulse SRM missiles LFK-NG and MSA, the development and flight demonstration of a rocket motor and a DACS demonstrator burning gelled propellants, and developed the concept for an endoatmosheric hypervelovity interceptor with throlleable ducted rocket propulsion system.
After handing over duties to his successor at BC in 2022, Karl started his expertise and consulting business on dynamic technologies.

Philippe Soyris
Philippe Soyris, has 23 years of experience as a technical leader at ArianeGroup, France. He began his career developing and adapting the Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) technologies to Atmospheric Reentry Vehicle Thermal Protection System (TPS) of the European IXV reentry test vehicle and to CMC aircraft engine nozzles for noise reduction purposes. Philippe successfully led, from A to Z and until qualification for serial production, the development of a Solid Rocket Motor (SRM) upper stage nozzles. This development included major design advances to improve Nozzle Trust Vectoring Control capacities, alongside material technological advances. Philippe now leads the development of CMC nozzles for Launcher Upper Stage Engines.

Michel Berdoyes
Michel Berdoyes studied mechanical and aeronautical engineering at ISAE - École Nationale Supérieure de Mécanique et d’Aérotechnique, Poitiers, France. After getting his diploma degree, he started working at the Société Européenne de Propulsion (SEP), now ArianeGroup in charge of the technical development of Solid rocket Motors. Mr. BERDOYES supported Nozzle development activities of the Ariane 5 Strap-on Boosters, Vega P80 SRM, M51 SRMs. He also worked on other numerous advanced technology concepts such as Advanced Thrust Vector Control systems, Hot Gas Valves for Divert and Attitude Control Systems and composite cases. He left ArianeGroup in 2020 as the Emeritus Expert of Solid Propulsion Technologies of ArianeGroup, France, with more than 35 years of experience in this field.

Russ A. Ellis
Russ A. Ellis is currently in his 15th year as a Consultant to the solid and liquid rocket industries following 32 years with Pratt & Whitney Space Propulsion and 10 years with Thiokol. He is an AIAA Fellow, received the 2010 AIAA Wyld Propulsion Award, and a JANNAF Lifetime Achievement Award.
Mr. Ellis is author of the NASA Nozzle Design Monograph. He authored over 60 nozzle, TVC, and advanced material technical papers presented at technical conferences and/or published in technical journals. Especially notable was his co-authoring of the 2003 solid rocket history for the AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power. He was program manager / principal investigator of over 30 advanced technology demonstration programs, Chief Engineer Trident II third stage motor, and also Chief Engineer of the nozzle extension team successfully transferring solid rocket carbon-carbon extendible exit technology to the RL10B-2, marking it the world’s highest-performing liquid rocket engine with the world’s largest carbon-carbon exit cones. Dr. Eric Rohrbaugh
Eric Rohrbaugh is the manager of advanced programs engineering at Northrop Grumman Defense Systems in Elkton Maryland where he oversees advanced technology work in the areas of solid rocket motors, air-breathing propulsion, and systems engineering. His expertise is in solid rocket motor design, optimization, and performance. 

Dave McGrath
Dave earned his bachelor and master degrees from Purdue University in 1983 and 1984. He has worked at Northrop Grumman and heritage companies for 39 years and is currently a Senior Northrop Grumman Fellow at the NG Elkton Maryland site. He has led many funded and IR&D development programs including managing the entire IR&D program at Elkton for a total of 10 years. He has written 50 papers and presented at many AIAA workshops, short courses and lunch and learns. He is an AIAA Fellow and past Director and Deputy Director of the Propulsion and Energy Group as well as past SRTC chair as well as numerous local section offices for AIAA. 

Dr. Anna Di Cosmo
Anna di Cosmo manages the Materials, Processes and Labs Department at Avio (Rome), a cross functional team with the responsibility to define and validate formulations, processes and NDT in the areas of composite materials and parts, thermal protections, liners, adhesives and solid propellants.
She first joined Avio in 2005 and spent his early career working as Responsible for Composites Materials, for structural and rigid thermal protection applications. She was involved in materials selection, characterization, development and industrial processes for the composite cases of the solid rocket motor stages of the Vega and Vega C launch vehicles (Zefiro 9, Zefiro 23 and P80, Z40 and P120C). Later she was responsible for solid propellant research, development, and industrial processes both for space and tactical application. Prior to working at Avio, she was Scientist at Lamberti S.p.A (a fine chemicals company), where she developed experience in synthetic-polymers Polyurethane R&D laboratory. She is the inventor and co-inventor of four patents in the field of polyurethanes (crosslinkers, adhesives and rheology modifiers) and polymeric formulations for prepreg. Anna graduated in Chemistry at University of Bari (Italy) in 2001 with special honors.


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