Hyderabad, September 25: Setting an example for Atmnirbhar Bharat to the space startup companies, Indian space startup has unveiled India's first privately developed indigenous fully Cryogenic rocket engine Dhawan-I. The Hyderabad-based startup 'Skyroot Aerospace' announced this on the occasion of the 100th birth anniversary of a renowned Indian rocket scientist- Dr.Satish Dhawan & named it after him.
Skyroot Aerospace co-founder & COO Naga Bharath Daka said, "the engine is named ‘Dhawan-I’ in honour of eminent Indian rocket scientist Dr. Satish Dhawan who played a vital role in the development of the Indian Space Programme."
The company, Skyroot Aerospace has already tested a solid-fueled engine, but the cryogenic engine is even more significant because of the extreme complexity in the technology and the handling of its fuels.
Taking about the engine Pawan Kumar Chandana, co-founder, and CEO, Skyroot Aerospace said, “This is the first among a series of engines being planned with various thrust levels. We have completed many tests to check the fuel flow and structural integrity. We are building a dedicated test facility for fire testing of this engine.”
He added, “our engine is named ‘Dhawan-I’ in honor of eminent Indian rocket scientist Dr. Satish Dhawan who played an instrumental role in the development of the Indian space programme."
"Dhawan-I is a 100% 3D Printed cryogenic engine with regenerative cooling. This is first among a series of engines being planned with various thrust levels," added Chandana. He further said, “LNG (with over 90 percent methane) is clean-burning, low cost, highly reusable and safe cryogenic fuel which is also ideal for longer duration deep-space missions carrying satellites or humans – perfectly aligned with the long-term vision of Skyroot.”
Skyroot Aerospace Private Limited is an Indian private aerospace manufacturer and commercial launch service, provider. the company was founded by former engineers and scientists from ISRO, DRDO, and various aerospace companies and aims to develop and launch its series of Vikram series of small lift launch vehicles.
The company came into limelight after testing its upper-stage rocket engine Raman in July this year, becoming the first Indian private entity to do so. It was named after the legendary Indian scientist Dr. CV Raman. It is capable of multiple restarts, enabling the launch vehicle to insert various satellites into multiple orbits in a single mission. The engine hosts a 100 percent 3D printed injector, which reduced its overall mass by 50 percent and reduced the total number of components and leads time by 80 percent.
A cryogenic rocket engine is a rocket engine that uses a cryogenic fuel and oxidizer, that is, both its fuel and oxidizer are gases liquefied and stored at very low temperatures. It runs on Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) as fuel. It uses liquid fuel and an oxidizer that is maintained at extremely cold temperatures. Cryogenic is a generic term that can be used to describe temperatures below -150 degrees Celsius. Such engines are used in the uppermost stages of rockets, which are used for propulsion in space.
A Cryogenic rocket stage is more efficient and provides more thrust for every kilogram of propellant it burns compared to solid and earth-storable liquid propellant rocket stages. Specific impulse (a measure of the efficiency) achievable with cryogenic propellants (liquid Hydrogen and liquid Oxygen) is much higher compared to earth storable liquid and solid propellants, giving it a substantial payload advantage.