Cryogenic rocket engine to propel India into elite club

Thursday, 8 April 2010 - 3:28pm IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA
Isro will be proving a point to the world with the launch of GSAT-4 on April 15.

Come April 15, India will join an elite club of five other nations having the cryogenic engine technology that would give enhanced power to its rockets to lift off into space.

On that day, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will demonstrate the indigenously developed cryogenic engine upper stage technology while launching the advanced Rs150-crore GSAT-4 satellite onboard the geo-stationary satellite launch vehicle (GSLV)-D3 rocket, Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan said. The lift-off of GSLV-D3 has been scheduled at 4.27 pm on April 15 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota.

The cryogenic engine for the Rs175-crore GSLV-D3 will provide almost twice the power to lift-off as compared to the existing capacity of rockets.

Isro scientists said a cryogenic engine was a rocket motor designed to maintain liquid fuels in liquid form at temperatures much below zero degree Celsius.

The engine components are also cooled so that the liquid fuel does not boil to a gaseous state while being fed to the engine. The powerful thrust comes from the rapid expansion from liquid to gas with the gas emerging from the motor at very high speed.

Cryogenic engines are known to be the most powerful rocket engines. The other five countries in possession of this engine technology are the US, Russia, France, Japan and China.

“Isro has achieved the feat after 18 years of research in the technology which was initiated when the pact with Russia (to supply cryogenic engines to India) did not go on expected lines,” said Radhakrishnan. The technology is expected to reduce India’s dependency on Russia or any other country for the engine technology.

“However, it will be two months before we announce that the project has been successful as we have to carry out several tests. It will have a huge application when it will be launched on commercial basis,” said RR Navalgund, director, Isro Space Applications Centre (ISAC).


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