Robert A. Frederick, Jr., Ph.D.

UAH Propulsion Research Center
UAH Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


301 Sparkman Drive
Huntsville, AL 35899
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Dr. Frederick is the Director of the UAH Propulsion Research Center. He has overseen over 6 million dollars in externally funded research in solid propellant combustion, combustion stability of liquid injectors, hybrid fuel combustion, thermal stability of hydrocarbon fuels, and characterization of rocket plume emissions. His research has experimentally revealed important combustion phenomena in the area of solid, liquid, and hybrid propellants. He pioneered an international, team-based design laboratory that integrates students and industry mentors from Engineering, Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, and business disciplines.

Dr. Frederick is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and a member of the American Society of Engineering Educators. He has served as the national chairman of the AIAA Hybrid Rocket Technical Committee and the U.S. Representative for the Air Force and Navy to a NATO Advisory Group on solid propellant burning rate measurements. Dr. Frederick received his Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University in 1988. His professional experience includes positions at Allison Turbine Engines, the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory, Sverdrup Technology, and AEDC Group. In 1991, he joined the UAH Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.


  • Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering, Purdue University, 1988
  • M.S., Engineering, Purdue University, 1982
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, 1980


  • Combustion Instability in Liquid Rockets
  • Solid Propellant Burning Rate Measurements
  • Thermal Stability of Fuels
  • Controllable Solid Propellants

Recent Publications

  • D. Thomas, M. Houts, W. Walters, K. Hollingsworth, R. Frederick, & J. Cassibry, "Toward the Engineering Feasibility of the Centrifugal Nuclear Thermal Rocket," Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 75(5) May 2022, pp. 181-188.

  • Frederick, R.A., Jr., Whitehead, J., Knox, R., and Moser, M.D., "Regression Rates Study of Mixed Hybrid Propellants," AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 175–180, 2006.

  • Brown, S.P and Frederick, R.A., Jr., "Laboratory-Scale Thermal Stability Experiments on RP-1 and RP-2," AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. No. 2, pp. 206-212, 2008.

  • Cavitt, R., Frederick, R.A., Jr.., and Bazarov, V.G., "Laboratory-Scale Survey of Pentad Injector Stability Characteristics," AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 24, No. 3, pp. 534-540, 2008.

  • Frederick, R.A. Jr., Slegers, N., and Hahn, P., "Predictive Guidance of a Hit-to-Kill Tactical Interceptor," IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, 2008.Vol.17, No. 4, pp. 745-755.

  • Whitehead, J.J. and Fredrick, R.A., Jr., "Predicting Hybrid Propellant Regression Rate Using Response Surfaces," AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 25, No. 3, 2009, pp. 815-818.

  • Byrd, R., and Frederick, R.A., Jr. "Instability Characteristics of a Gaseous-Oxygen/Methane Pentad Injector," AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 26, No. 4, 2010, pp. 698-695.