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Successful Testing of Indigenous Cryogenic Engine
May 05, 2015

In a major milestone, an indigenous cryogenic engine, that will help India put satellites of upto four tonnes in geostationary orbit, was tested successfully at ISRO's propulsion complex at Mahendragiri in Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu. The powerful version of the cryogenic engine was successfully ground tested at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre.

  • The test of cryogenic engine CE-20 was conducted for 635 seconds.

  • This is a landmark in India’s effort to develop a big cryogenic engine that can put GSLV Mark-III into geostationary orbit by the end of 2016.

  • The engine tested will enable India to put satellites of up to 4 tons in geostationary orbit.

  • India has till now been dependent on foreign launch vehicles to send heavier satellites to the required orbits.

  • In the absence of a proven indigenous cryogenic engine, India has been dependent on foreign space agencies like Arianne for the launch of heavy communication satellites.

India has been on a long arduous journey to develop an operational indigenous cryogenic engine which began around 30 years ago. The first success came in January last year, when India successfully launched GSLV-D5, marking the first successful launch of a vehicle with an indigenous cryogenic engine. But India at present can only launch satellites of up to two tonnes.Fact about Cryogenic Engine

♦ Cryogenic technology has remained a challenge for all space-faring nations because of its complexity.

♦ A cryogenic engine uses Hydrogen as fuel, stored at minus 253 degrees Celsius and liquid oxygen as oxidizer at minus 183 degrees Celsius.

♦ A cryogenic engine is more efficient as it provides more thrust for every kilogram of propellant burnt.

♦ Cryogenic fuels are extremely clean as they give out only water while burning.

♦ It can develop the thrust needed in the final state of the rocket to put satellites, weighing two tonnes or more, into a geosynchronous orbit.

♦ Cryogenic engines that give the most thrust are usually required for the last stage of the rocket because this stage provides 50% of the velocity of 10.2 kms per second needed at the point of injection of a satellite. It is needed because outside the atmosphere there is no oxygen and most regular fuels need oxygen to burn.

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