A detailed and annotated image of a SpaceX raptor engine (found on a SpaceX website) illustrates that in addition to the major components (e.g. pumps, inlets, combustion chamber, nozzle), there are also many other components of a rocket engine necessary for it to function.

If I wanted to explore further, learning the names and function of these minor components, which resources are available that would be most helpful?

I know the in-depth descriptions might be protected by ITAR, but I seek to learn as much as is available in the public domain.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to space stack exchange! By policy each question asked here needs to be able to have an answer that can be right or wrong. So the focus of the question needs to be fairly narrow, and only one question is allowed per post. Although it is interesting, your question is "too broad" to fit this format well. For example, no one can really say how you can learn about each part of a rocket engine, or whether the image "tells everything" since what that means will vary. In my opinion you should try editing your question to focus on a single thing that can have a right or wrong answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 18, 2020 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Space! There are textbooks hundreds of pages long, solely about rocket engines. It's simply not possible to explain everything about a rocket engine in the space of a StackExchange answer. If you have a more specific question, we would be happy to answer it. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Commented Jun 18, 2020 at 20:01
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    $\begingroup$ Get a textbook by google, and try to understand the parts based on the info in it. You will have a lot of questions, come back with these questions. I have no hearth to vote this question for closure, partially because it has a very good image. Furthermore, I believe, good answers should exist here with references to these textbooks. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Commented Jun 18, 2020 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ Edited and voted to reopen; and related: Why do some engines have so many little tubes, and others, not so much? and related and currently unanswered: What is the function of this Merlin engine's tube, and why is it getting red hot? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jun 19, 2020 at 0:14

1 Answer 1


An excellent albeit somewhat dated resource for information on rocket engine components is NASA's series of Chemical Propulsion Design Criteria monographs.

Here is a (possibly incomplete) list of the monographs related to liquid engine components. All are available on NTRS AFAIK.

  • SP-8048 Liquid Rocket Engine Turbopump Bearings
  • SP-8052 Liquid Rocket Engine Turbopump Inducers
  • SP-8080 Liquid Rocket Pressure Regulators, Relief Valves, Check Valves, Burst Disks, and Explosive Valves
  • SP-8081 Liquid Propellant Gas Generators
  • SP-8087 Liquid Rocket Engine Fluid-Cooled Combustion Chambers
  • SP-8088 Liquid Rocket Metal Tanks and Tank Components
  • SP-8089 Liquid Rocket Engine Injectors
  • SP-8090 Liquid Rocket Actuators and Operators
  • SP-8094 Liquid Rocket Valve Components
  • SP-8097 Liquid Rocket Valve Assemblies
  • SP-8100 Liquid Rocket Engine Turbopump Gears
  • SP-8101 Liquid Rocket Engine Turbopump Shafts and Couplings
  • SP-8107 Turbopump Systems for Liquid Rocket Engines
  • SP-8109 Liquid Rocket Engine Centrifugal Flow Turbopumps
  • SP-8110 Liquid Rocket Engine Turbines
  • SP-8112 Pressurization Systems for Liquid Rockets
  • SP-8113 Liquid Rocket Engine Combustion Stabilization Devices
  • SP-8119 Liquid Rocket Disconnects, Couplings, Fittings, Fixed Joints, and Seals
  • SP-8120 Liquid Rocket Engine Nozzles
  • SP-8121 Liquid Rocket Rotating-Shaft Seals
  • SP-8123 Liquid Lines, Bellows, Flexible Hoses, and Filters
  • SP-8124 Liquid Rocket Engine Self-Cooled Combustion Chambers
  • SP-8125 Liquid Rocket Engine Axial-Flow Turbopumps
  • SP-8126 Glossary of Terms

There are other monographs in the series about solid motors; I have not listed them.


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