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Skyroot Aerospace successfully tests cryogenic engine

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on November 25, 2021

Dhawan-1 is India’s first privately developed fully cryogenic rocket engine

Spacetech start-up Skyroot Aerospace on Thursday announced that it has successfully tested Dhawan-1, which it claims to be the country’s first privately developed fully cryogenic rocket engine. The engine runs on two high performance rocket propellants- Liquid Natural gas (LNG) & Liquid Oxygen (LoX). The test was conducted at Solar Industries India Ltd. in Nagpur.

The test demonstrates the propulsion technology in the upper stage of Skyroot’s orbital vehicle, Vikram-2. LNG, which is a better alternative to 90 per cent methane, is considered the rocket fuel of the future. Skyroot has named its cryogenic engine- ‘Dhawan-1’ in honour of eminent Indian Rocket scientist Dr. Satish Dhawan.

‘Rocket propellants of the future’

Pawan Kumar Chandana, Co-founder and CEO, Skyroot Aerospace said: “The engine uses Liquid Natural gas (LNG) and Liquid Oxygen (LoX) at cryogenic temperatures as propellants, which are high performance, low-cost, and green. These are the rocket propellants of the future, and this test makes us one of the very few companies in the world to have successfully demonstrated this technology.”

Also read: ISRO to help Skyroot Aerospace to build launch vehicle

He added, “This is a completely made in India cryogenic engine developed using 3D printing with a superalloy, reducing manufacturing time by more than 95%.”

Cryogenic engines are highly efficient rocket propulsion systems that use propellants at cryogenic temperatures (less than -150° Celsius). They have a higher specific impulse that enhances the payload carrying capability of the rocket, which is the space to add and fit in more satellites and other propellants as needed.

“The complex engine start and shut-off transients are perfectly smooth, combustion was very stable, and pressure was rock steady. This is a phenomenal achievement by our team and we’ve mastered handling two cryogenic fuels,” V. Gnanagandhi, a Padma Shri awardee and a pioneer of cryogenic rocket propulsion in India, who heads the cryogenic propulsion team at Skyroot, said.

Published on November 25, 2021

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