ISRO achieves a milestone in semi-cryogenic engine development

ISRO achieves a milestone with the successful ignition of a semi-cryogenic pre-burner engine, marking progress in enhancing the payload capacity of its LVM3 launch vehicle and advancing propulsion technology.

India’s space agency, ISRO, has reached a significant milestone in its quest for advanced propulsion technology with the successful ignition of a semi-cryogenic pre-burner engine.

The engine, boasting a thrust of 2000 kN, is part of ISRO’s efforts to enhance the payload capability of its LVM3 launch vehicle and pave the way for future space missions. Developed by the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), with support from other ISRO launch vehicle centres, the engine utilizes a combination of liquid oxygen (LOX) and kerosene propellant.

Assembly and testing of the propulsion modules took place at the ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) in Mahendragiri. The ignition trial, conducted on May 2, 2024, at the Semi Cryo Integrated Engine Test Facility (SIET) in IPRC, marked a crucial step forward in the engine’s development.

Key to the ignition process was the utilization of a start fuel ampule, employing a novel combination of Triethyle Alumnide and Triethyle Boron, developed by the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). This marked the first time using these propellants in an ISRO engine, following extensive elemental level ignition tests at VSSC’s Propulsion Research Laboratory Division (PRLD).

The successful ignition of the semi-cryo preburner is a testament to ISRO’s dedication to advancing liquid rocket engine technology. This achievement opens the door for further development tests on the engine powerhead test article and fully integrated engine. Additionally, work is underway on a semi-cryo stage capable of carrying 120 tons of propellant.

The semi-cryogenic engine’s ignition is a critical milestone in ISRO’s broader ambitions for space exploration and satellite deployment. With this breakthrough, ISRO moves closer to bolstering its launch capabilities and ensuring India’s continued presence in the global space arena.