GSLV-D5 to be powered by indigenous Cryogenic Engine, to lift off on August 19, 2013

As Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D5) is slated to lift off around 5 p.m. on August 19, 2013 from Sriharikota is powered by an indigenous cryogenic engine and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has used every expertise available in the country to ensure that the engine performs smoothly this time. GSLV-D5 will put India’s advanced communication satellite GSAT-14, weighing 1,980 kg, into orbit.

ISRO’s earlier attempt with indigenous cryogenic engine has not been successful. In April 2010, the GSLV flight with an indigenous cryogenic engine had failed. The subsequent GSLV flight with a Russian cryogenic stage also failed in December 2010.

This time a number of ground tests have been done on the sub-systems and the cryogenic engine at the after making the necessary design changes in the Fuel Booster Turbo Pump (FBTP) and the oxidiser turbo pump which was earlier causing errors.

What is a Cryogenic Rocket Engine?

“Cryos” is a Greek word meaning Ice Cold. The Cryogenics is the study of producing extremely low temperatures. Cryogenic rocket engine uses a cryogenic fuel. A cryogenic fuel or oxidizer includes the gases liquefied at a very low temperature. Due to use of liquid gases as propellants, the cryogenic Rocket Engines are also called liquid-propellant rocket engines.

The gases in liquid state occupy less space and provide required mass flow rate more efficiently than using the same in gaseous state.
The CE-20 is the first Indian cryogenic engine (but not indigenous) to feature a gas-generator cycle. It has been developed at Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

LPSC is the research centre and rocket engine test facility of ISRO. LPSC has played a leading role in development of liquid propellant stages for PSLV, control systems for SLV-3, ASLV, PSLV and GSLV, satellite propulsion systems including those for INSAT and IRS and production of pressure transducers.

India’s indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) for Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) which was successfully test fired by ISRO on August 4, 2007, was also developed by LPSC.

Which are countries who possess Cryogenic Engine technology?

At present only five countries viz. United States, Russia, France, Japan and China have the cryogenic engine upper stage technology to launch heavier satellites in geostationary orbit. India is the sixth country to design and develop the cryogenic technology.

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