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India strives ahead in the rocket launch arena; successfully tests its own Cryogenic Engine

India strives ahead in the rocket launch arena; successfully tests its own Cryogenic Engine

Amit Paul Chowdhury

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) just finished successfully testing its cryogenic engine. The space organization tested it cryogenic stage, designated as C25 for a flight duration of 640 seconds at its ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) in Mahendragiri. Successful testing of C25 was done earlier on January 25, 2017 for a brief 50 seconds, to validate all the systems. This news follows the successful endeavor of India launching a record number of satellites into the space.

The C25 engine will power ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III rocket. The rocket holds capability to propel 4-ton class satellites into geo-synchronous orbit. This test was the last in a series of engine and stage development hot tests, before GSLV MkIII performs its first development test. The first flight has been targeted for April 2017, the vehicle integration activities for which are currently in progress at the Sathis Dhawan Space Centre.

The vehicle shall sport two solid strap-ons (S200) motors, one earth storable liquid core stage (L110), and the Cryogenic Upper Stage (C25). The cryogenic stage will utilize a propellant loading of 27.8 tons in two independent tanks, producing a thrust of 20 tons.


The development of the cryogenic stage has been a really taxing job, where liquid hydrogen had to be stored at -253 degree Celsius, while -195 degree Celsius was fixed for liquid Oxygen. A special multi-layer insulation has been built for the tanks and other structures to store these cryogenic fluids. Russia, USA, France, Japan, China, and India are the few countries who have mastered this complex technology. ISRO’s successful launch in April of 4-ton class satellites using its indigenous cryogenic engine will steer the space organization ahead in the global competition for satellite launch.

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