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Indigenous cryogenic engine passes crucial test

Staff Reporter

Bangalore: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which thus far relied on Russian cryogenic engines for its launches, has just got closer to having an indigenous engine. In a significant milestone, the indigenous cryogenic engine being developed has passed a “flight acceptance hot test” at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) at Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu.

ISRO’s next GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) launch slated for mid-2009 will be the first to use this indigenously developed cryogenic engine, said ISRO spokesperson S. Satish. The 2.3-tonne GSLV Mk II will launch a geostationary satellite along with a navigational and technological payload, most likely next April. The engine will provide a payload capability of 2,200 kg for GSLV.

The hot test was carried out on Thursday for a duration of 200 seconds and the engine developed a thrust of 73 kN (kilo Newtons) in vacuum. The engine works on a ‘staged combustion cycle’ with an integrated turbo-pump running at around 42,000 rotations per minute. Another unique feature of this engine is the “closed loop control” which ensures optimum utilisation of propellant for the mission.

The cryogenic engine will, in the next four to five months, be integrated with propellant tanks, stage structures and associated feed lines, said Mr. Satish.