Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) chairman A. S. Kiran Kumar on Sunday lauded the successfully test of the scramjet, an engine that takes atmospheric oxygen to burn engine fuel, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikotta in Andhra Pradesh. “Today’s experiment of doing a scramjet engine test is a very significant development and we are the fourth country to do such a thing. The test was very successful.
We had the ignition and the test developed for about five seconds. It is a very significant development for the country. The efforts of long duration at our end has paid,” Kiran Kumar told ANI here. “Right now, we have been able to demonstrate for ten seconds. Now, we have to do it for a longer duration and we also have to work on using it effectively for a longer period,” he added.
The Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV), a sounding rocket (research rocket) with a solid booster carrying advanced scramjet engines, was successfully flight-tested from the launch pad of the Sathish Dhawan Space Centre, also known as Sriharikota Range (SHAR), at Sriharikota on Sunday at 6 a.m. This first experimental mission of Indian Space Research Organisation is aimed at the realisation of an Air Breathing Propulsion System which uses hydrogen as fuel and oxygen from the atmosphere air as the oxidiser.
The mission had a smooth countdown of 12 hours as the ATV with scramjet engines weighing 3277 kg lifted off at 6 a.m. ISRO chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar and SHAR director P. Kunhikrishnan along with a host of space scientists were present at Sriharikota on the occasion.
The ATV vehicle, which touched down in the Bay of Bengal approximately 320 km from Sriharikota after a flight of 300 seconds, was successfully tracked during its flight from the ground stations at Sriharikota. With this, the ISRO had successfully demonstrated its capabilities in critical technologies like ignition of air breathing engines at supersonic speed, air intake mechanism and fuel injection systems.
Technological challenges handled by ISRO scientists during the development of the scramjet engine include the design and development of hypersonic engine air intake, the supersonic combustor, proper thermal management and ground testing of the engines.
With this, India became the fourth country to demonstrate the flight testing of a scramjet engines. This mission is a milestone for ISRO’s future space transportation system. The scientists said that all the important flight events such as the burn out of booster rocket stage and functioning of scramjet engines for 5 seconds followed by burn out of the second stage took place exactly as planned.