ISRO successfully test fires cryogenic upper stage of GSLV Mark III

Isro successfully ground tested the cryogenic upper stage of the GSLV Mark III at the ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) at Mahendragiri.

Isro successfully ground tested the cryogenic upper stage of the GSLV Mark III at the ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) at Mahendragiri. The indigenously developed engine was fired for a duration of 50 seconds, demonstrating the operations of the stage. The test was the first of a series of two tests, the duration of the second test is 640 seconds. The test was a significant milestone in the development of indigenous cryogenic propulsion technologies.

The development of the C25 cryogenic upper stage began with the approval for the GSLV Mark III. The GSLV Mark III is the next generation satellite launch vehicle, and is designed to be able to put spacecraft weighing 4 tons into geosynchronous transfer orbit. The GSLV Mark III launch vehicle has two S200 strap on motors, a L110 earth storable liquid core stage and the C25 cryogenic upper stage.  The C25 is the most powerful upper stage developed by Isro and carries 27.8 tons of propellant in two tanks.

The Cryogenic Engine. Image: ISRO.

The Cryogenic Engine. Image: ISRO.

Indian industries have manufactured the engine and the various sub systems on the cryogenic stage. The engine was designed at Isro's leading facility for propulsion,  Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC). Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC), ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) and the Sathish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR contributed to the design of the engine. The upper stage uses a combination of Liquid Oxygen (LOX) and Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) propellants.

The propellants in the cryogenic engine are extremely cold. Liquid hydrogen is stored at -253 degrees Celsius, and the liquid oxygen is stored at -195 degrees Celsius. Isro had to develop special multi layer insulation for the tanks and other structures to store the cryogenic fluids. The flight engine has been successfully test fired at a High Altitude Test facility (HAT) and integrated with the flight stage.

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