About ERG

The Johns Hopkins University Energetics Research Group (ERG) is a Department of Defense Information Analysis Center (IAC) covering the fields of rocket, missile, space, and gun propulsion technology.

ERG is the U.S. national clearinghouse and technical resource center for data, reports, and analyses related to system and component level technologies for chemical, electrical, and nuclear propulsion for rockets, missiles, and space and gun propulsion systems. ERG also provides technical and administrative support to the Joint Army-Navy-NASA-Air Force (JANNAF) Interagency Propulsion Committee, the primary technical information exchange platform for the U.S. propulsion industry.

As a DoD IAC, ERG offers technical inquiry services; a propulsion information retrieval system (PIRS); numerous electronic web-based databases; propulsion technology reviews; reference handbooks and technical manuals; propulsion computer codes; literature search services based on a 110,000+ document library; a bimonthly industry newsletter; meeting proceedings; and other products and services.

ERG also performs technical area tasks (TATs) relevant to its core mission. TATs are analytical and technical in nature and are separately sponsored and funded. Information on ERG products and services can be obtained by contacting ERG at: (410) 992-7300; e-mail: info@erg.jhu.edu, or visit ERG’s web site at: http://www.erg.jhu.edu.

In April 1946, at the suggestion of Dr. Ralph E. Gibson (later to become the second director of APL), the group recommended the establishment of “a rocket intelligence agency with one main responsibility—that of promoting rapid circulation of technical information to all activities concerned.” Armed with $20,000 in BuOrd funding, APL established the initial Rocket Propellant Information Agency (RPIA) on 3 December 1946 to consolidate, organize, and catalog the inventory of wartime reports.

In 1948, the addition of Army sponsorship and accompanying expansion of agency scope into gun propellants prompted a name change to the Solid Propellant Information Agency (SPIA). SPIA subsequently assumed responsibility for organizing and publishing the proceedings of the Joint Army-Navy and Interagency Solid Propellant Group Meetings, which later evolved into the JANNAF Propulsion Meeting. The previously sporadic industry technical exchange meetings were now formalized and conducted on a regular basis.

The Air Force and NASA joined in sponsorship of SPIA in 1951 and 1959, respectively. With the establishment of NASA and increased activity in liquid-fueled rockets, missiles, and space vehicles, the Navy established the companion Liquid Propellant Information Agency (LPIA) at APL in 1958.

On December 1, 1962, the SPIA and LPIA combined operations to form the Chemical Propulsion Information Agency. At this time, CPIAC’s scope was expanded to include airbreathing, electrical, nuclear, and gun propulsion. The Interagency Chemical Rocket Propulsion Group (ICRPG), predecessor of the current JANNAF Interagency Propulsion Committee, was also chartered that year.

In 1964, CPIAC became a DoD Information Analysis Center under the Naval Sea Systems Command.

In 1980, the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) assumed administrative oversight of CPIAC.

in 1990, the operation of CPIAC was transferred from APL to The Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering. While CPIAC’s core functions have expanded significantly over the years, its founding mission of report collection activities has continued uninterrupted to date, making CPIAC the custodian of the most comprehensive chemical propulsion scientific and technical reports collection in the world.

CPIAC has now become ERG as of 2016.