Isro Successfully Tests India's First High Thrust Cryogenic Rocket Engine
Isro successfully tests India's first High Thrust Cryogenic Rocket Engine (representational image)Isro

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) crossed an important milestone on Monday by successfully testing the country's latest and most powerful cryogenic engine.

The indigenously developed high thrust cryogenic rocket engine, technology of which was once denied to India under pressure from the US about two decades ago, was successfully ground tested for a duration for 800 seconds, Isro said.

"As part of the C25 Stage development, further tests are planned in High Altitude conditions and in Stage configuration, prior to the flight stage realisation," Isro said, adding, "Mastering this complex, high performance cryogenic propulsion technology will go a long way in building self reliance for the Indian Space Programme."

"India's first indigenously designed and developed High Thrust cryogenic rocket engine generating a nominal thrust of 19 tonnes was successfully endurance hot tested for a duration of 800 seconds on July 16, 2015 at ISRO Propulsion Complex, Mahendragiri. This duration is approximately 25% more than the engine burn duration in flight. The engine will be used for powering the Cryogenic stage (C25), the upper stage of the next generation GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle of ISRO, capable of launching four tonne class satellites," Isro said on its website.

The cryogenic engine uses extremely low temperature propellants--liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (LOX)--as its fuel.

"This cryogenic engine of C25 Stage operates on Gas Generator Cycle using extremely low temperature propellants – Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) at 20 Kelvin (-253 deg C) and Liquid Oxygen (LOX) at 80K (-193 deg C). The various subsystems of the engine are – regeneratively cooled Thrust Chamber, Gas Generator, LOX and LH2 high speed turbopump systems, flow control components, close loop mixture ratio control system, Pyrogen igniters, fluid systems, etc. The turbopump system rotates at a speed of 36,000 rpm with a power level of 2 MW," Isro said.

The "high performance cryogenic engine was conceived, configured and realised by Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC)", the lead centre of Isro responsible for developing liquid propulsion systems for Indian Space Programme. The engine design was "totally in-house effort with experts from different fields like fluid dynamics, combustion, thermal, structural, metallurgy, fabrication, rotor dynamics, control components, etc" working together.