THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was a tad disappointed on Friday after a crucial test on the CE-20 cryogenic engine for the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III (GSLV Mk-III) had to be called off following the detection of an anomaly. The ‘closed loop test’, held at the ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), Mahendragiri, should have had the made-in-India engine burning for 200 seconds, but the test was aborted in less than a minute.
“The test was not completed as planned. We had to call it off 30 seconds into the test. But we have identified the hitch as a mere measurement anomaly,” said Dr K Sivan, outgoing director of ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), and new chief of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). The test will be conducted again in two to three weeks, he said. Cryogenic engines use liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen as propellants. The CE-20 cryogenic engine is a heftier version of the CE-7.5 cryogenic engine, which ISRO had successfully tested aboard a regular GSLV in January 2014.
On April 28 this year, ISRO had created history by burning the CE-20 for 635 seconds in a ground-based test- the full duration it will need to burn on an actual flight. Two cold start tests and four short duration hot tests have already been conducted on this engine. Several more tests would have to be conducted before the engine could be handed over to the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota, including a 720-second very long duration test, S Somanath, who is slated to take over as LPSC director, said.
ISRO had partially flight-tested the GSLV Mk-III in December 2014 with a dummy cryogenic upper stage.