The Skyroot Aerospace has successfully test-fired 3D-printedfully-cryogenic rocket engine at a private propulsion test facility.
Cryogenic engines are one of the hardest to develop and so far only six countries have these launch vehicles including the US, China, Russia, France, Japan, and India.
India used its first GSLV in 2001.
About the launch:
The 3D-printed cryogenic engine was fired for a record 200 seconds, named ‘Dhawan-II’.
The test was carried out at Solar Industries propulsion test facility in Nagpur, Maharashtra, using indigenously developed mobile cryogenic engine test pad.
Dhawan-II engine builds upon the foundation laid by the firm’s first privately developed fully-cryogenic rocket engine, the 1.0 kN thrust Dhawan – I, successfully test fired in November 21, 2022.
The Skyroot aerospace has launched, Vikram – S, which made the firm, the first Indian private company to send a rocket into space.
The 3D printed Dhawan – II engine also uses a 3D printed torch igniter and cryo-injection valve with quick response time.
The engine development was partly supported by NITI Ayog’s ANIC-ARISE program which promotes technologies including the use of green rocket propellants.
Cryogenic rocket engine technology – ‘Dhawan-II’:
The engine has been completely 3D printed and made in India.
A super-alloy for 3D printing the engine was used which reduced the manufacturing time by 95%.
A cryogenic Engine is an engine that uses in space vehicles that utilize cryogenics.
The study of how materials behave and are produced at extremely low temperatures (below -150 degrees Celsius) in order to lift and launch heavier objects into space is known as cryogenics.
The major components of a cryogenic rocket engine are combustion/thrust chamber, igniter, fuel injector, fuel cryo pumps, oxidizer cryo pumps, gas turbine, cryo valves, regulators, the fuel tanks and a rocket engine nozzle.
While all cryogenic engines in use today use a combination of liquid oxygen and hydrogen as fuel, the Skyroot cryogenic engine will use Liquid Natural gas (LNG) and Liquid Oxygen (LoX) as propellants.
LNG, which is more than 90% methane, is considered the rocket fuel of the future.
More efficiency to carry payloads: The cryogenic rocket engines, which greatly enhances payload-carrying capabilities.
Fuels used are environmentally friendly compared to other solid, semi-cryogenic and hypergolic propellants used in rocket industry.
Other advantages of the LNG propulsion system include:
lower risk of explosion
less costly propellants and
The fuel is less evaporable in space that makes it suitable for a vehicle that travels to space for a prolonged period.