Our Mission

To design, build & test liquid propellant rocket engines, with the goal of providing members with the practical experience and skills necessary to succeed in the space industry, and to position the University of Southern California as a leader in liquid propulsion education & research.

Lab HIstory


The Liquid Propulsion Laboratory was founded by three students who were involved with the Rocket Propulsion Laboratory (RPL) at USC. Two of these founders were PhD students that wanted to make a liquid rocket engine before they graduated from USC. They made a Kerosene-Nitrous Oxide (KNOX) engine (shown above) and decided, with a friend of theirs, to start a student group that focused on liquid propulsion. They talked with the Astronautical Engineering (ASTE) department and officially founded the group during the summer of 2015.

After the KNOX engine, LPL started design work on Blue Steel, a gaseous oxygen (GOX)-Kerosene engine with a nominal thrust of 4.5 kN. Blue Steel has been fired 5 times so far. In Spring 2017 the feed system was completely redesigned along with a new mobile test stand. Work on this stand should be completed early Fall 2018.

Shortly after LPL was founded, a relationship was established with the Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan. They were interested in a partnership with LPL in which we would provide the propulsion system for their ''Winged Reusable Sounding Rocket'' WIRES#13. This propulsion system will provide 20 kN of thrust for 25 seconds of burn time. The launch of WIRES#13 is scheduled for December 2018.

Man’s mind and spirit grow with the space in which they are allowed to operate.
— Krafft A. Ehricke, rocket pioneer