ISRO gears up to test scramjet engine

Flush with the success of the technology demonstration flight of its Reusable Launch Vehicle last month, ISRO is gearing up to test a scramjet engine based on air-breathing propulsion.

The test flight of the indigenously developed scramjet engine is scheduled to take place from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota sometime in July. Named Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV), the test platform will comprise a scramjet engine hitched to a two-stage sounding rocket (RH- 560). “The vehicle has been characterised and is being fabricated at the VSSC and the ISRO Propulsion Complex, Mahendragiri,” VSSC Director K. Sivan told The Hindu over phone from Sriharikota, amid preparations for the PSLV-C34 launch.

The air-breathing engine will be released at a height of 70 km and ignited during the coasting phase. Apart from the hypersonic ignition at Mach 6, ISRO hopes to sustain the combustion for 5 seconds. “The test is also expected to help us achieve good thrust value with the scramjet engine,” Dr. Sivan said. Maintaining combustion in hypersonic conditions poses technical challenges.

Dr. Sivan said the post-flight analysis of RLV-TD test flight had shown encouraging results. “We could understand the hypersonic aerothermodynamics of the delta winged body, the Thermal Protection System worked well and the hypersonic re-entry, autonomous navigation and landing could be validated.”

The test flight of

the indigenously developed engine

is scheduled to

take place in July