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Gaganyaan: ISRO completes final test of engine that can carry humans to space

The space agency said, “To achieve the human rating standards, four engines underwent 39 hot firing tests under various operating conditions for a cumulative time period of 8810 seconds against the minimum human rating qualification standard requirement, which is 6350 seconds.”

Saumya Nigam Edited By: Saumya Nigam @snigam04 New Delhi Updated on: February 21, 2024 13:58 IST
ISRO
Image Source : FILE ISRO

ISRO has reached a milestone in the human rating of its CE20 cryogenic engine, a crucial component which has been powering the cryogenic stage of the human-rated LVM3 launch vehicle for Gaganyaan missions. Completing the final round of ground qualification tests on February 13, 2024, was marked as a significant step forward in India's space exploration endeavours.

Comprehensive ground qualification tests

The ground qualification tests for the human rating of the CE20 engine come with a series of rigorous evaluations. These further include:

  • Life demonstration tests
  • Endurance tests
  • Performance assessments under various operating conditions

Special attention was given to the off-nominal conditions related to mixture ratio, thrust and propellant tank pressure, ensuring the engine's reliability and safety.

Successful completion of tests

All ground qualification tests for the CE20 engine are reportedly essential for India's Gaganyaan program, which has been completed. This certain achievement highlights ISRO's commitment to the highest performance and reliability standards for human spaceflight missions.

Acceptance tests for unmanned Gaganyaan Mission

ISRO has accomplished the acceptance tests of the flight engine which was designated for the first unmanned Gaganyaan (G1) mission, which was scheduled tentatively for the second quarter of 2024. 

This engine, with its robust thrust capability and specific impulse, which plays a crucial role in powering the upper stage of the human-rated LVM3 vehicle.

ISRO said, “The seventh and the final test of the vacuum ignition tests were carried out at the High Altitude Test Facility at ISRO Propulsion Complex, Mahendragiri, to mimic the flight conditions.”

The space agency further added, “To achieve the human rating standards, four engines underwent 39 hot firing tests under various operating conditions for a cumulative time period of 8810 seconds against the minimum human rating qualification standard requirement, which is 6350 seconds.”

The official statement reads, “ISRO has also successfully completed the acceptance tests of the flight engine identified for the first unmanned Gaganyaan (G1) mission tentatively scheduled for Q2 of 2024.”

Vyommitra Mission and Gaganyaan Timeline

Woman Robot Astronaut Vyommitra:

Union Minister Jitendra Singh announced that India's woman robot astronaut, Vyommitra, will precede ISRO's Gaganyaan mission. The uncrewed Vyommitra Mission is scheduled for the third quarter of this year, while the manned mission Gaganyaan is set for 2025.

Successful unmanned test flight:

In October 2023, the unmanned test flight TV-D1 of the Gaganyaan mission successfully took off from Sriharikota. The brief test flight demonstrated the performance of the crew module escape system and made a safe touchdown in the Bay of Bengal.

Gaganyaan Project: The main focus of the mission

The Gaganyaan project aims to demonstrate India's human spaceflight capabilities by launching astronauts into orbit and safely returning them to Earth. This ambitious mission is poised to showcase India's advancements in space exploration and technology.

ALSO READ: ISRO describes GSLV Rocket as smart, disciplined and mature

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