ISRO's on course, successfully test fires air-breathing scramjet engines

India on Sunday morning successfully tested its own scramjet or the air breathing engine with the launch of a big sounding rocket, said a senior official of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Published: 28th August 2016 07:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th August 2016 11:56 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: Indian dream of developing a Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) with the aim of cutting the cost of access to space by 10 times is on course with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully carrying out its maiden Scramjet Engine experiment from Sriharikota, about 100 km away from Chennai.

The solid rocket booster carrying the Scramjet Engines lifted off at 6 am just before the sunrise. It’s an important mission accomplished for the national space agency and only fourth country in the world to demonstrate the flight testing of Scramjet Engine.

The novelty here is the Scramjet Engine designed by ISRO uses Hydrogen as fuel and the Oxygen from the atmospheric air as the oxidiser.

Sunday’s test was the maiden short duration experimental test of ISRO’s Scramjet engine with a hypersonic flight at Mach 6. ISRO’s Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV), which is an advanced sounding rocket, was the solid rocket booster used for the test of Scramjet engines at supersonic conditions.  ATV carrying Scramjet engines weighed 3277 kg at lift-off.

ISRO officials said burn out of booster rocket stage, ignition of second stage solid rocket, functioning of Scramjet Engines for 5 seconds followed by burn out of the second stage took place as planned. “It’s a modest yet important milestone in its endeavour to design and develop advanced air breathing engines including engines for ISRO’s future space transportation system,” an official said.

After a flight of about 300 seconds, the vehicle touched down in the Bay of Bengal, approximately 320 km from Sriharikota. The vehicle was successfully tracked during its flight from the ground stations at Sriharikota.

Critical technologies such as ignition of air breathing engines at supersonic speed, holding the flame at supersonic speed, air intake mechanism and fuel injection systems have been successfully demonstrated.

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