Home >> News: June 13th, 2017 >> Story
Satnews Daily
June 13th, 2017

Refined Kerosene to be Flight Tested as Semi-Cryogenic Engine Fuel by ISRO by 2021

The New Indian Express infosite is reporting that if all elements go as planned, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will flight test their semi-cryogenic engine, which uses refined kerosene as propellant, by 2021.

With the success of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III (GSLV Mk-III), ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) at Valiyamala, India, is now focusing on the next level — the development of the much-delayed semi-cryogenic technology. Unlike the cryogenic engine, which uses a combination of liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (LOX) as propellant, the semi-cryogenic engine replaces liquid hydrogen with refined kerosene (Isrosene, as ISRO calls it). LOX will be retained as oxidizer.

LPSC had developed the cryogenic engine for the GSLV Mk-II and the much powerful one for the GSLV Mk-III. The idea is to replace the second stage of the GSLV Mk-III, which now uses a liquid stage, with the semi-cryo. The rocket will retain the cryogenic upper, third stage. The advantage of inducting the semi-cryogenic stage is the payload capacity of the GSLV Mk-III will increase from four to six tons. Using refined kerosene as fuel has quite a few advantages, among those being a more eco-friendly and cost-effective fuel. Also, unlike liquid hydrogen, which must be stored at (-)253 degree Celsius, it is stable at normal temperatures. The Union Cabinet had cleared the semi-cryogenic engine project in 2008 at an estimated cost of Rs 1798 crore. Although the idea was to develop the technology 2014, the project was delayed.