Skyroot Aerospace Completes 200-second Fire Test of 3D-Printed Dhawan-II Cryogenic Rocket Engine

Space Pioneer
Space Pioneer

Skyroot Aerospace, a private Indian aircraft manufacturer, recently completed a fire test of the Dhawan-II, a 3D-printed cryogenic engine. The engine, which is named after Dr Satish Dhawan, regarded as the Father of Indian Aerospace, successfully functioned for 200 seconds during the test, displaying its sharpness and flexibility ratio. Skyroot Aerospace designed an Indian indigenous mobile cryogenic engine test pad for the fire test, which took place at the Solar Industries propulsion test facility in Nagpur.

The 3.5 Kilo Newton engine is intended to power the Vikram-II rocket, which is also developed by Skyroot company. The engine underwent an advanced-level endurance test, and the experiment’s success marks a significant achievement for Skyroot Aerospace, as well as for the whole Indian private space sector.

Advantages of Cryogenic Engines

Cryogenic engines are excellent for the upper stages of a rocket as they involve higher specific impulse, which improves the rocket’s payload-carrying capabilities. Additionally, cryogenic propellants carry frozen oxidizers instead of liquid propellant rocket engines, making them environmentally friendly. Cryogenic engines require cryogenic temperatures (below -150° Celsius) to store and operate.

Dhawan-II Engine

The Dhawan-II is built using Cryogenic Technology and utilizes two high-performance rocket fuels, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and Liquid Oxygen (LoX). LNG contains over 90% Methane, while LoX is a green, eco-friendly burning fuel. The engine is designed with a 3D-printed torch igniter and a below-actuated cryo-injection valve, resulting in a quick response time.

Vikram Rockets

The Vikram-II rocket, which the Dhawan-II engine is intended to power, is an updated version of the Vikram-S rocket launched by Skyroot Aerospace in November 2022. The rocket, developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is the first private orbital rocket expected to launch from South Asia. The Vikram-I rocket is scheduled to take off in 2023 and will use three solid-fuel stages to take satellites to orbit.

Conclusion

Skyroot Aerospace’s successful fire test of the Dhawan-II cryogenic engine highlights India’s advances in cryogenic technologies and the country’s commitment to exploring space. As a private manufacturer of aircraft, Skyroot is working to make space exploration more accessible and affordable. With its state-of-the-art models such as 3D printing and green propellants, the company is leading the way in the Indian private space sector.

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