Indian rocket engine test successful

Bangalore, May 12: India Saturday successfully tested the indigenous super cooled cryogenic engine that will be used to fire a heavier rocket to put a communication satellite in the geo-synchronous orbit later this year, the space agency said.

“The acceptance test of the cryogenic stage of the heavy rocket was conducted for 200 seconds and the performance of the engine was as predicted,” the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a statement here.

The flight engine test was conducted in the space agency’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) facility at Mahendragiri, about 670 km from Chennai in Tamil Nadu. The hot test included the cryo’s endurance and functioning in vacuum.

A cryo-engine is a rocket motor that is fired by a mixture of liquid fuels (oxidiser) such as hydrogen and oxygen at very low temperatures of 20 degree Kelvin or minus 423 degree Fahrenheit and 90 degree Kelvin or minus 297 degree Fahrenheit.

The space agency’s attempt to use its first cryogenic engine April 15, 2010 to launch a communication satellite on board a GSLV (geo-synchronous satellite launch vehicle) was aborted as the heavy rocket plunged into the sea within minutes after blast-off from its Sriharikota spaceport, about 80 km north-east of Chennai.

The space agency plans to launch a series of space missions over the next two years using a combination of lighter (PSLV) and heavier (GSLV) rockets, including an experimental flight of GSLV-Mark III.

“We plan launch 24 satellites over the next two years, beginning with a GSAT in September carrying30 transponders on board the spacecraft, followed by a subsequent launch later this year to put another communication satellite in the geo-synchronous orbit with 12 transponders,” a senior space official told IANS.

IANS