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Indigenous Cryo Engine Passes Test
Mar 02, 2016

Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) bid to acquire the capability to launch heavier satellites into orbit received a boost recently with the successful hotbed test of the cryogenic engine for the upper stage of the GSLV Mark 3 rocket.

  • The long-duration test at the ISRO Propulsion Research Centre at Mahendragiri lasted 640 seconds.

  • Using Liquid Hydrogen at -253 degrees C and Liquid Oxygen at -193 degrees C as propellants, the high-thrust cryogenic engine (CE20) generates power of approximately 2 MW.

  • Developed at the Liquid Propulsion System Centre (LPSC) here, the engine had already undergone two short-duration tests for engine ignition and steady state performance.

Last year, the first developmental engine completed different hot tests in various operating regimes. The third engine identified for flight use will be vacuum tested in the high altitude test facility as part of the flight acceptance test.

Preparations were under way for the first developmental flight of the GSLV Mark 3 in December 2016.

The biggest rocket made in India, the Mark 3 will be capable of launching four-tonne satellite into geosynchronous orbit.

Earlier, an indigenous cryogenic rocket engine being developed to power India’s most powerful rocket system, the GSLV Mark 3, underwent a successful endurance test for a duration of 800 seconds on July 16 2015 at ISRO’s propulsion complex at Mahendragiri.

The cryogenic engine which will power the upper stage of the GSLV Mark 3 was fired for a period that is 25 per cent longer than required in a space flight with a nominal thrust of 19 tonnes and its performance matched prediction made through computer simulation.

The cryogenic C25 stage engine operates on Gas Generator Cycle using extremely low temperature propellants Liquid Hydrogen at 20 Kelvin (-253 degree C) and Liquid Oxygen at 80 Kelvin (-193 degree C). The cryogenic engine is being developed as part of plans to enhance India’s capabilities in space programmes by providing more power to launch heavier four tonne category spacecraft. Indian capabilities are currently in the two tonne-plus range.

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