Indigenous Cryogenic Engine successfully tested by ISRO

Date: April 29, 2015

ISRO Cryogenic rocket engine GSLV-D5

ISRO successfully tests indigenous cryogenic engine

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 of Tamil Nadu.The powerful version of the cryogenic engine was successfully ground tested at the Liquid Propulsion systems centre (LPSC).

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The test was conducted for 635 seconds and it was successful, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre sources in Thiruvananthapuram said.This engine will allow launch vehicles to carry satellites of up to capacity of four tonnes in geostationary orbit. It will also give boost to India’s interplanetary probes and manned space missions.

Cryogenic rocket engine-

First lets understand what Cryogenics means - It is the study of the production of materials at extremely cold temperatures. The temperatures studied in cryogenics are those below -243.67 degrees Fahrenheit (120 Kelvin); such low temperatures do not occur in nature.

A cryogenic rocket engine is a rocket engine that uses a cryogenic fuel or oxidizer, that is, its fuel or oxidizer (or both) is gases liquefied and stored at very low temperatures.

Why is the need for low temperatures? Hypothetically, if propellants had been stored as pressurized gases, the size and mass of fuel tanks themselves would severely decrease rocket efficiency. Therefore, to get the required mass flow rate, the only option was to cool the propellants down to cryogenic temperatures (below ?150 °C, ?238 °F), converting them to liquid form. Hence, all cryogenic rocket engines are also, by definition, either liquid-propellant rocket engines or hybrid rocket engines.

It is important to note that India sixth spacefarer after US, Russia, the European Space Agency, China and Japan to develop a cryogenic engine. Earlier in January 2015, India had successfully launched GSLV-D5, the first successful launch vehicle with an indigenous cryogenic engine. But it had capacity to launch satellites of up to two tonnes.