What is a cryogenic engine? Discuss its significance in India’s space programme.

Published: July 11, 2019

Cryogenic means low temperature. Cryogenic engines are highly efficient liquid propellant engines. They use liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as the propellant. Oxygen can be kept in liquid state at below -1830 C temperature, while hydrogen requires temperature below -253°C to be in liquid form. Moreover, the liquid oxygen is very reactive. So, effective technology is required to ensure that both come in contact only in the combustion chamber. Apart from this technological care, two quite different state of temperature are required to be maintained. To keep propellant in liquid state, low temperature is to be maintained while in the combustion chamber very high temperature and pressure are created by combustion to create a greater thrust. These engines produce greater thrust by the same weight of propellant than other engines. They are highly efficient and are used throughout the world.

India signed an agreement with Russia for Cryogenic technology but due to American pressure Russia didn’t transfer India this technology. However, later on, ISRO tried to develop this technology and has achieved much success in this path. India will become self – reliant in its space programme after the development of this technology.

Cryogenic engines are very useful in launching of heavy satellite launch vehicles like GSLV. We will be able to launch much heavier satellites into orbit. Even satellite launching market will be available for India in the world. Cryogenic engines will not only make India progress in its own programmes but commercialisation of this technology and its services will get India foreign currency.

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