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Countdown to Cost-Effective and Eco-Friendly Fuel, ISRO to Test Kerosene as Flight Fuel by 2021

Following the success of the GSLV Mk-III, ISRO is now concentrating on developing semi-cryogenic technology that will utilise refined kerosene as the fuel.

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Looks like the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has been working on a project that will redefine the existing working models of engines that have been employed up till now.

Utilising refined kerosene as propellant, the space organisation intends to flight-test the semi-cryogenic engine using the eco-friendly fuel by 2021.

This could prove to be a significantly cost-effective measure as the kerosene is much lighter and can be stored at normal room temperatures.

GSLV Mk III. Source: ISRO

The current liquid fuel that is used by the cryogenic engine is a combination of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, which is not only heavier than refined kerosene but also needs to be stored at a freezing temperature of minus 253 degree Celsius.

Following the success of the GSLV Mk-III, the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), a research and development centre functioning under ISRO, has now started concentrating on developing semi-cryogenic technology, which had gotten the nod of approval from the Union Cabinet back in 2008.

“Various tests are in progress on the engine. Of the four turbo pumps in it, three have undergone tests at the ISRO Propulsion Complex, Mahendragiri. We plan to have the engine ready by 2019-end, the stage by 2020-end and the first flight by 2021,’’ S Somanath, director, LPSC, said, according to The New Indian Express.


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Previously having developed the cryogenic engines for the GSLV Mk-II and Mk-III, LPSC now intends to induct the semi-cryogenic mechanism in the second phase of the GSLV Mk-III which will utilise refined kerosene as its fuel.

Reportedly, the advantage of using refined kerosene or Isrosene, as ISRO calls it, will help in increasing the payload capacity of the GSLV Mk-III from four tonnes to six tonnes.

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Written by Lekshmi Priya S

Shuttling between existentialist views and Grey's Anatomy, Lekshmi has an insanely disturbing habit of binge reading. An ardent lover of animals and plants, she also specializes in cracking terribly sad jokes.