Why has the indigenous development of cryogenic engine became necessary for India?


Due to its (cryogenic engine) advantage in development of GSLY, India was to acquire the cryogenic engine and technology from the Russian agency, Glavkosmos. But a hitch developed under US pressure and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) restrictions, Russia refused to honour the original contract under which India had to give Rs. 235 crores to gain from Russia by 1995. This forced ISRO to go ahead its own to develop a cryogenic engine.

Though it would have taken many years to manufacture such an engine for rocket launches. But renewed negotiations in early 1994 between ISRO and Glavkosmos resulted in a resettlement providing for four mock up models in lieu of the technology, besides three busters. ISRO scientists have, however, managed to design, small one tone cryogenic engine. In February 1998, ISRO successfully tested an indigenously designed cryogenic engine at its MahendraGiri test facility near Tirunnelveli in Tamilnadu.

This test showed that ISRO has mastered the process for firing a cryogenic engine. On February 16, 2000, ISRO crossed an important milestone in the development of indigenous cryogenic upper stage for the GSLV, when the first cryogenic engine was ignited at the liquid population systems centers at MahendraGiri.


The Indian Space Research Organisation has successfully tested on indigenously developed cryogenic engine to be used in a geostationary satellite vehicle in future. The engine will replace the Russian version currently being used in the launch of the GSLV flights.

The engine’s upper stage uses the cryogenic propellants-liquid hydrogen at 250°c and liquid oxygen at -196°c. The engine’s uppers stage was hot tested on 26th June 2006 about 50 seconds at the Liquid propulsion systems Centre (LPSC) near MahendraGiri.

At present the process of development of an indigenous 7.5 tone thurst cryogenic engine and stage based on the Russian design, know as Mark -II is on. A totally indigenous and more powerful cryogenic engine Mark-Ill which is intended to deliver satellites weighing upto to four tonnes in the geostationary orbit is also under development.

Semi Cryogenic Engine: In a semi-cryogenic engine, the fuel kerosene (usually the superior aviation turbine fuel -ATF) is liquid at room temperature and only oxygen requires liquefaction.

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