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Milestone in cryogenic engine test paves way for GSLV-MkIII (thehindu)

 A milestone crossed in the making of a new cryogenic rocket engine set the stage for the first flight of the country’s most powerful satellite launcher to date, the GSLV-Mark III. The cryogenic stage and the entire launch vehicle’s readiness is closer to fruition after the engine, technically called CE20, passed the ‘high altitude flight acceptance test’ lasting about 25 seconds at Mahendragiri in mid-December.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to fly its new launch vehicle powered by this new engine around March, and send the 3,200 kg GSAT-19 communication satellite to space on it. The launch was earlier slated for December 2016. MkIII, when it completes trials and commences functioning in the coming years, will double ISRO’s lifting power for communications satellites to 4,000 kilos.

Vital stage

In a few days from now, the rocket’s complete cryogenic third stage, replete with fuel tanks and systems built around the engine, will undergo its qualifying test, S. Somanath, Director of ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), Thiruvananthapuram, told The Hindu .

LPSC has designed and developed the CE20 engine. We are assembling the entire cryogenic stage, which is ready for flight. It will be sent to Sriharikota in a month’s time,” he said.

The cryogenic stage is vital for a GSLV rocket as it gets its final and biggest push in space from this stage; it can take a big communications satellite to higher reaches of 36,000 km above ground. The C25 cryogenic stage was approved at an estimated Rs. 600 crore as part of the overall Rs. 2,500-crore MkIII launcher project.

“Realising the CE20 engine was our target in order to achieve India’s capability to lift a four-tonne satellite to GTO (geostationary transfer orbit, around 36,000 km high),” Mr. Somanath said.

“We have been longing for this for a few years. MkIII will be the future work horse after the PSLV,” he said.

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