CRYOGENIC ENGINE (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     22nd February 2024        

Context: Recently, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced that the performance of the key cryogenic engine, slated for use on board the LVM3 launch vehicles for India’s Gaganyaan missions, has been qualified and certified for missions aimed at transporting humans into space.

Cryogenic Engine

  • About: The CE-20 is a homegrown cryogenic engine developed by ISRO for the GSLV Mk III, now termed LVM-3, launch vehicle.
  • Advantages of Liquid Fuels for Rocket Motors: Engineers favor liquid fuels due to their compactness and superior flow compared to solid fuels.
  • Hydrogen stands out as a desirable fuel due to its high exhaust velocity upon combustion.
  • ISRO has utilized three cryogenic engines: KVD-1, CE-7.5, and CE-20, with the latter two being domestically developed.
  • Operational Mechanisms: Cryogenic engines necessitate cryopumps, specialized storage tanks, and turbopumps for fuel movement.
  • The CE-7.5 engine follows the staged-combustion cycle, while the CE-20 engine operates on the gas-generator cycle, enhancing ease of construction and testing for ISRO.

Gaganyaan Mission

  • About: Gaganyaan project envisages demonstration of human spaceflight capability by launching a crew of 3 members to an orbit of 400 km for a 3 days mission and bring them back safely to earth.
  • Expected Launch: In 2025)
  • Launch Vehicle: GSLV Mk-lll (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) the three-stage heavy-lift launch vehicle will be used for carrying the orbital module.
  • India’s heaviest rocket consists of solid stage, liquid stage and cryogenic stage.
  • Objective: To demonstrate the capability to send humans to low earth orbit on board an Indian launch vehicle and bring them back to earth safely.
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