RNS: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), achieved a big milestone in its Gaganyaan mission program. They recently tested the CE20 E13 engine, and it passed with flying colors, generating an impressive 22-tonne thrust. This engine is a crucial part of the Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) and will play a key role in the Gaganyaan mission and future space missions.
Developed by the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) in Valiamala, the CE20 engine underwent rigorous testing at the ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) in Mahendragiri on September 22, 2023, as revealed by ISRO officials on Tuesday.
The CE20 engine plays a pivotal role as the powerhouse of the Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS), responsible for propelling the upper stage (C25) of the LVM3 vehicle. This engine has already showcased its capabilities by operating at a thrust level of 19 tonnes in six consecutive LVM3 missions, including missions like Chandrayaan-2, Chandrayaan-3, and two commercial OneWeb missions.
To further enhance the payload capacity of the LVM3 vehicle, ISRO has been actively upgrading the CE20 engine. This effort involves transforming the upper cryogenic stage into the C32 stage, with increased propellant loading capacity, and modifying the engine to operate at a higher thrust level of 22 tonnes.
In preparation for critical missions like the Gaganyaan program, ISRO deemed a series of ground hot tests as necessary. The CE20 engine hardware, known as E13, was selected for both Gaganyaan qualification and 22-tonne thrust level operations.
The journey towards achieving a 22-tonne thrust capability began with the E13 HT-01 test, which focused on engine tuning and was successfully conducted for a duration of 50 seconds. This initial test laid the foundation for subsequent trials.
A significant milestone was reached with the E13 HT-02 test, carried out on August 30, 2023, during which the engine operated flawlessly for an impressive 720 seconds. This test served to demonstrate the engine’s reliability and stability, reaffirming ISRO’s commitment to precision engineering.
The third and pivotal hot test, E13 HT-03, marked the completion of CE20 engine qualification for the Gaganyaan program. Conducted on September 22, 2023, at the state-of-the-art test facility in IPRC, Mahendragiri, this test saw the CE20 engine operate at the coveted 22-tonne thrust level for a duration of 670 seconds. Both the engine and the testing facility performed flawlessly, meeting all performance parameters and proving the engine’s readiness for the Gaganyaan program.
With all necessary tests successfully completed, the CE20 engine is now poised to meet the demanding requirements of the Gaganyaan mission and future space endeavors. ISRO’s continued success in testing and engineering advances underscores India’s growing prowess in space exploration, reaffirming its commitment to space research and technological innovation on a global scale.