ISRO developing eco-friendly propellants

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is developing green propellants for future rockets, considering the harmful effects of exhausts released by rockets on the earth's atmosphere.

Published: 12th August 2018 10:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th August 2018 10:57 AM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose only (Courtesy: ISRO)

BENGALURU: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is developing green propellants for future rockets, considering the harmful effects of exhausts released by rockets on the earth's atmosphere.
Currently, ISRO is conducting laboratory tests of environment-friendly replacements for existing propellants.

The space agency is also looking to improve the energy efficiency of the fuel in the process. Research into the subject comes in the wake of global concerns regarding gases emitted by rocket engines.
The propellants that are being used have a very reactive effect on the ozone layer due to the release of chlorinated exhaust products. This, along with other chemicals released, wreak havoc on the sensitive ozone layer.

Solid propellant

To address the problems associated with chlorinated exhaust, ISRO has started developing an eco-friendly solid propellant and oxidiser at the laboratory level. According to a recent response by Union Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space Jitendra Singh in the Rajya Sabha, the new propellant has the capacity to eliminate chlorinated exhaust from rocket motors. The solid propellant is based on Glycidyl Azide Polymer as fuel and Ammonium Di-Nitamide as oxidiser.

The space agency is also carrying out trials involving various green propellant combinations such as Hydrogen Peroxide, Liquid Oxygen (LOX) and Liquid Methane to reduce harmful exhaust. Sources told The Sunday Standard that various combinations were being tried to increase the efficiency of future fuels.
“The fuels being developed are still in an experimental stage. Different permutations and combinations are being tried out to increase the efficiency of the product,” the source said.

According to a response in Rajya Sabha, ISRO has already begun the move towards environment-friendly propellants. It has been using LOX/Liquid Hydrogen and LOX/Kerosene-based propulsion systems for launch vehicles, and electric propulsion for spacecraft. The LOX/Liquid Hydrogen combination is already being used in the upper stages of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and GSLV Mk-III.

Agency to train budding scientists from developing nations

Bengaluru: ISRO will conduct a capacity-building programme on small satellite development for students from developing countries in November. The eight-week long ‘India-UN Small Satellites Programme’ will be held for the first time this year. Training for selected students will be conducted at U R Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru for the next three years.

According to sources, the process of selection of 30 candidates from 15 developing nations will be completed in September. Each of the 45 nations under INDOUNSSP will nominate two students. The candidates will learn theoretical course work during the first phase of their training, followed by practical lessons on assembly, integration and testing of small satellites.

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