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Monitoring Rocket Propulsion Testing Using CompactRIO

Rocket propulsion control and monitoring using CompactRIO
Rocket propulsion control and monitoring using CompactRIO

The Challenge

Our customer, a provider and developer of sustainably fueled rockets, approached us with the need for a system to measure over 50 I/O points critical to the research and development of their latest rocket.

The Solution

Using NI CompactRIO hardware, we were able to provide a benchtop monitoring and control system which enabled the real-time data logging and control of their rocket during propulsion tests.

The Cyth Story//System Order of Operations

  • The customer’s benchtop monitoring, and control system needed to provide valve control precise to the millisecond.

  • Using NI CompactRIO hardware our engineering team developed a LabVIEW software architecture to acquire 150 data points at 50 KS/s.

  • This enabled the programmable control and sequencing of oxidizers critical to the rocket propulsion’s chemical reaction.

During Test:

  • The fuel line is opened

  • Ignition is fired to begin the initial fuel burn

  • A temperature sensor measures that the fuel is burning

  • Various valves are opened/closed in a precisely timed sequence to increase the chemical reaction

  • Our system has enabled the valve timing to be reprogrammable between tests to allow experimentation and the development of new tests.

  • We are working with the customer to develop an inflight control system using the NI sbRIO that will travel with the rocket in their upcoming launches.

Delivering the Outcome

Our monitoring and control system has improved the capabilities of our customer’s rocket propulsion testing as it has enabled the programmable control of individual I/O to a millisecond accuracy and allowed for the repeatability of rocket research development testing.

NI cRIO-9074 Chassis (8 slot)
NI cRIO-9074 Chassis (8 slot)


I/O Type


NI-9237, 50 kS/s/channel, Bridge Analog Input, 4-Channel C Series Strain/Bridge Input Module


NI-9219, 100 S/s/ch, 4-Channel C Series Universal Analog Input Module


NI-9264, 25 kS/s/ch Simultaneous, ±10 V, 16-Channel C Series Voltage Output Module


NI-9264, 25 kS/s/ch Simultaneous, ±10 V, 16-Channel C Series Voltage Output Module


NI-9217, 4-Channel, 400 S/s Aggregate, 0 Ω to 400 Ω, PT100 RTD C Series Temperature Input Module

Technical Specifications

Qty 32 x K-Type Thermocouple Inputs

Qty 16 x Bridge Completion Load Cell Input

Qty 48 x 24V Industrial Digital Outputs

Qty 16 x 24V Industrial Digital Inputs


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