Rocket Propulsion expert Bogdan Marcu empowers education using Siemens Simcenter STAR-CCM+

By youheng.dong

What does it feel like to work for Space X? How can we better prepare for careers in the aerospace industry? What tools are available to students for analyzing aerodynamic behavior?

Rocket propulsion expert, Bogdan Marcu, uses Simcenter STAR-CCM+ in the ROSPIN course on turbine design and analysis upcoming in March 2023. Siemens Simcenter STAR-CCM+ is a multiphysics computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software for the simulation of products operating under real-world conditions. Learn about how Bogdan Marcu empowers education using Siemens Simcenter STAR-CCM+.

About Bogdan Marcu

Bogdan Marcu is an expert in rocket propulsion with a career of more than 25 years in the US Aerospace Industry. A graduate of the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest, Department of Aeronautical Engineering, he emigrated to the US in 1991, and pursued a Ph.D. at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Department of Aerospace Engineering. After obtaining his doctorate degree in 1996, he joined the Rocketdyne corporation in 1998, a Boeing division at the time. 

Rocketdyne and Space X

Over 14 years at Rocketdyne, he worked on projects related to the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME), a new design for the Liquid Hydrogen Turbine Flowmeter introduced for flight for the first time with the Shuttle Atlantis mission in 2007. During this time, he authored several studies published by the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). In 2011, he began working for Space Exploration Technologies (Space X). At Space X, he designed the turbines of the Merlin1D and MVacD engines powering the Falcon 9 family of rockets. He also designed the first turbine prototypes for an early demonstrator engine of the current Raptor family of engines, expected to power the Starship rockets on their missions to Mars. In 2016, Bogdan Marcu returned to Rocketdyne as leader of the turbine aerodynamics group, working again on the new version of the SSME engines, known as RS-25, powering the NASA Space Launch System (SLS), as well as other programs. Then, in 2020, he joined the Blue Origin corporation, working on the rocket engines destined for missions to the Moon.


On the academic side, Bogdan Marcu has pursued interests in education and training as a lecturer at the University of Southern California (USC), his alma mater, teaching courses in compressible gas dynamics and turbine design and analysis. The courses taught in Bogdan’s project-course design format are meant to better prepare senior undergraduate and graduate students for careers in the aerospace industry.  

In parallel with his engineering and academic career, Bogdan Marcu has developed a publishing career, with several columns published in the Huffington Post. In 2011, he published the techno-thriller Project Morphem, the result of his participation in a USAF program for training scientists to develop realistic movie scripts for Hollywood studios. The book is sold on Amazon and translated into Romanian, published by the Pavcon publishing house in Bucharest. 

Bogdan Marcu

ROSPIN Project

Under the auspices and with the help of the Romanian Space Initiative (ROSPIN), we are organizing a project course on turbine design and analysis. The course is based on the material developed for the USC course AME415, currently taught every Fall semester in Los Angeles.

The ROSPIN course is planned for February 2023, and has a length of 13 weeks. The format is a hands-on project course that starts from the academic fundamentals of machine thermodynamics and then gradually takes the participant student/trainee into the complete details of the design and analysis of an axial turbine stage.

The Siemens Simcenter STAR-CCM+ code is used to analyze the aerodynamic behavior of the turbine airfoils and overall turbine stage performance. As such, the course has a training segment devoted to the instruction of beginners in CFD analysis.

The course lecture notes and materials are in English. The proposed target audience is a group of 27-30 students recruited from Romanian universities and young professionals interested. The teaching/instruction is expected to be performed in Romanian; however, should there be enough candidates with sufficient proficiency and interest to be instructed in English, that could be easily changed.

The course instruction will be performed via Zoom or similar video conferencing interface. There will be a series of 7 homework assignments prior to actual project work. The participants will be grouped in teams of 3. The final part of the course consists of 3 presentations, mimicking the Conceptual, Preliminary and Critical Design Reviews typically carried in the industry.

Stay tuned for more information about this course. Let’s empower education with Siemens Simcenter STAR-CCM+!

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