Science & Tech

ISRO’s CE20 cryogenic engine is ready for Gaganyaan missions

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has made a big step forward in its quest for human spaceflight with the successful human rating of its CE20 cryogenic engine.
  • Ground qualification tests were successfully completed at the ISRO Propulsion Complex’s High Altitude Test Facility in Mahendragiri, validating the CE20 engine for the Gaganyaan programme.

About the CE20 cryogenic engine

  • It was created and developed by the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), an ISRO division.
  • It is the first Indian cryogenic engine to use a gas-generator cycle.
  • It is among the most powerful upper-stage cryogenic engines in the world.
  • This engine produces a nominal thrust of 186.36 kN in vacuum.

Key Highlights of Ground Qualification Tests

  • The CE20 engine was thoroughly tested, including nominal and off-nominal situations for thrust, mixture ratio, and propellant tank pressure.
  • Hot Firing Tests: Four engines underwent 39 hot firing tests, totaling 8,810 seconds, exceeding the minimum human rating certification criteria of 6,350 seconds.

Update on the First Unmanned Gaganyaan (G1) Mission

  • Mission Objectives: The Gaganyaan project seeks to demonstrate India’s human spaceflight capabilities by launching a three-person crew into a 400 km orbit for a three-day mission, followed by a safe return to Earth via a landing in Indian sea waters.
  • Acceptance testing: ISRO has completed acceptance testing on the flight engine for the first unmanned Gaganyaan (G1) mission, which is tentatively slated for the second quarter of 2024.
  • Engine Specification: The flight engine, which will power the upper stage of the human-rated LVM3 vehicle, has a thrust capability of 19 to 22 tonnes and a specific impulse of 442.5 seconds.

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