Sunday, 4 September 2016

India and Scramajet : A big Leap

The Indian Space Research Organisation successfully test fired on Sunday, Aug. 28, a pair of its own scramjet engines – an airbreathing ramjet in which combustion takes place in a supersonic airflow. The engines were tested during a sub-orbital flight of ISRO’s Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV).
Photo Credit: ISRO
Weighing 3,277 kilograms, the ATV sounding rocket, based on the Rohini RH-560, lifted off the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota at 6:00 a.m. local time.
The flight, lasting about five minutes, was India’s first experimental mission of the scramjet engine technology, in order to the develop an indigenous air-breathing propulsion system.
During the flight, ISRO performed burnout of the booster rocket stage, ignition of the second stage solid rocket, as well as tested the functioning of scramjet engines for five seconds.
Test-firing of these engines was followed by a burnout of the second stage. The mission, designated ATV-D02, concluded with the planned touchdown of the vehicle in the Bay of Bengal, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) from Sriharikota. According to ISRO, all the tests were conducted successfully. Scramjet engines, using oxygen from the atmosphere, could cut the cost of rocket launches, by reducing the amount of oxidizer needed to be carried along with the fuel.
With the successful Sunday flight, India became the fourth country to demonstrate the flight testing of a scramjet engine.
“The launch marks an important landmark in our space program and demonstrates, yet again, India’s capabilities in space launch technology. With this test, India has joined the select club of nations which have the technology of air-breathing engines,” said Pranab Mukeherjee, the President of India.
It is an important milestone toward designing and developing advanced air-breathing engines. These scramjets could be used in India’s future space transportation system.

ATV is a two-stage spin stabilized launcher with identical solid motors as the first as well as the second stage. For the Sunday’s mission, the twin scramjet engines were mounted on the back of the rocket’s second stage.

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Himanshu Shrivastava
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