Andhra Pradesh sugar rush for rockets by ISRO

Published Feb 18, 2015, 12:56 pm IST
Updated Jan 10, 2016, 8:38 am IST
Sugarcane by-products are being sold to ISRO
Representational image (Photo: ISRO Facebook)
 Representational image (Photo: ISRO Facebook)

Rajahmundry: By-products of sugarcane from Andhra Pradesh is being used to make rocket propellant fuels, ethanol, rectified spirit used in preparation of liquor, for generation of power and in the paper industry as raw material for making newsprint.

The sugarcane grown in the state is classified into three varieties based on its crushing time. While one variety is crushed in 10 months, the other two get crushed in 12 months and 14 months respectively.


Sugarcane is being grown on about 75,000 acres in the Godavari districts, and 10 per cent of that goes into making black jaggery, which is a raw material for ID liquor.

West Godavari-based Andhra Sugars Limited has been producing rocket propellant fuels for a long time.

Using technology acquired from the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre of Thiruvananthapuram, the firm uses the molasses, which is a by-product during the processing of sugarcane, to make two varieties of rocket propellants: Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) and Mono Methylhydrazine (MMH).

The company had entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Indian Space Research Organisation and had started commercial production of UDMH.

Following this, it went a step ahead and started to make MMH too. Both processes are closely guarded secrets of the company.

Satish Dhawan Space Centre management systems’ area group director, P. Vijaya Saradhi said, “We are getting UDMH and MMH from Andhra Sugars Limited of AP which is used as fuel for both Polar and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicles at specific stages.

“As the fuels are being supplied as per specifications of Isro, we are using them directly in the launch vehicles,” he said.

Location: Andhra Pradesh