ISRO successfully tests engine for its manned Gaganyaan mission
The space agency test-fired the Vikas engine used in the second stage of the rocket for 240 seconds, the full duration it will operate during an actual mission.
In a major milestone, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) completed the final testing of one of the three stages of the launch vehicle that will carry humans to space under the Gaganyaan mission.
The space agency test-fired the Vikas engine used in the second stage of the rocket for 240 seconds, the full duration it will operate during an actual mission, at the engine test facility Isro Propulsion Complex (IPRC)-Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu.
“The performance of the engine met the test objectives and the engine parameters were closely matching with the predictions during the entire duration of the test,” the space agency said in a release.
Isro’s GSLV Mk III, which successfully carried the Chandrayaan-2 mission to space in its first operational flight, has three stages – the two solid S200 boosters fired at the launch, the core L110 liquid stage, and the upper C-25 cryogenic stage.
“The liquid stage of the launch vehicle uses two Vikas engines, which is what was tested by Isro today. The engine was fired for the full duration it will operate during the actual mission. It is a pretty big milestone, signalling that this particular engine is ready for launch,” said an expert on propulsion systems, on condition of anonymity.
The expert added, “The first stage of the launch vehicle that uses solid propellant is already qualified. Now, Isro just needs to test the performance of the cryogenic stage before the launch vehicle is ready for the mission.”
The launch of Chandrayaan-2 was delayed in 2019 after there was a helium leak in the cryogenic stage of the engine. The S-200 solid booster stage of the launch vehicle also underwent design changes for human rating, with Larsen & Toubro delivering the first sturdier casing last year.