CE-20 cryogenic engine: ISRO successful in key test for India’s third moon mission

Source: The post is based on the article CE-20 cryogenic engine: ISRO successful in key test for India’s third moon mission” published in The Hindu on 2nd March 2023.

What is the News?

Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) has successfully conducted the flight acceptance hot test of the CE-20 cryogenic engine that will power the Cryogenic Upper Stage of the LVM3 launch vehicle for the Chandrayaan-3 mission.

What is CE-20 Cryogenic Engine?

The CE-20 is a cryogenic rocket engine developed by the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, a subsidiary of the Indian Space Research Organisation. 

It has been developed to power the upper stage of the LVM 3 launch vehicle.

It is the first Indian cryogenic engine to feature a gas-generator cycle.

The high-thrust cryogenic engine is the most powerful upper-stage cryogenic engine in operational service.

What is a Cryogenic Engine?

The cryogenic stage is technically a very complex system due to its use of propellants at extremely low temperatures.

They are complex but highly efficient and provide better thrust for each kilogram of fuel burnt when compared to the traditional solid and liquid propellant rocket stages.

It typically makes use of liquid oxygen (LOX), which liquefies at -183 deg C, and liquid hydrogen (LH2), which liquefies at -253 deg C.

LH2 acts as the fuel, while LOX acts as the oxidizer that explosively reacts with the hydrogen, producing thrust. When the engine ignites, the two liquids are pushed into a combustion chamber by a booster pump continuously.

Significance: Only six countries have developed their own cryogenic engines: the US, France/European Space Agency, Russia, China, Japan, and India.

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