ISRO tests Semi-cryogenic engines

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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has achieved a significant milestone by conducting successful tests on its semi-cryogenic engines, which will power future launch vehicles. The inaugural integrated test was conducted at the newly-established Semicryogenic Integrated Engine & Stage Test facility at the ISRO Propulsion Complex in Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu.

The test focused on an intermediate configuration of the 2000 kN semi-cryogenic engine, excluding the thrust chamber, known as the Power Head Test Article (PHTA).The test aimed to validate the design of the propellant feed system, including the low-pressure and high-pressure turbo-pumps, the gas generator, and control components. It demonstrated the successful chill-down operations that lasted approximately 15 hours and met all the required conditions for engine start. Following the chill-down of the Liquid Oxygen (LOX) circuit, the kerosene feed circuit was filled, and LOX was introduced into the gas generator. The test’s positive results will help determine the sequence of operations for future tests.

The Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) of ISRO, in collaboration with Indian industry, is responsible for designing and developing the 2000 kN thrust semi-cryogenic engine. This engine will power the booster stages of upcoming launch vehicles. The recent test is a crucial step before integrating the complete engine and conducting its qualification.The newly commissioned test facility at the ISRO Propulsion Complex features a state-of-the-art control system and data acquisition system based on Programmable Logic Controllers.

Capable of testing semi-cryogenic engines with up to 2600 kN thrust, the facility will support the subsequent testing and qualification of the fully integrated semi-cryogenic engine and stage.The Semi Cryogenic Propulsion System Project by ISRO aims to develop a 2000 kN semi-cryogenic engine and an accompanying ‘SC120 stage,’ enabling the future development of heavy-lift capabilities for Indian space transportation systems. The successful performance of the test facility and the Power Head Test Article in the initial attempt marks a significant achievement for ISRO.

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