Nellore: Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) said on Friday that it had successfully completed a static test of a solid-fuel booster, HS200, that will power the rocket for Gaganyaan, India’s human space flight programme, on Friday, marking a major step forward.
The static test, where the rocket engine is fixed to a block, took place at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, at 7.20 am. Isro said 700 parameters were monitored and the performance of all the systems was normal.
It was loaded with 203 tonnes of solid propellant and tested for its full duration of 135 seconds, according to Isro. The HS200 is 20 metres long and 3.2 metres in diameter and is the world’s second-largest operational booster with solid propellant, after the ones used on the now-defunct Space Shuttle programme and Arianespace’s Ariane 5 launcher.
HS200 is the human-rated version of the S200 engine that powers the GSLV Mk III rocket. The rocket, also called the Launch Vehicle Mark 3 (LVM3), will have two HS200 engines strapped to its first stage.
Isro said that despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, it could complete the design, development, realisation and testing process within two years. The system was indigenously designed and developed by Isro in participation with industries spread across the country, the space organization said.
The event was witnessed by Isro Chairman Dr S. Somanath and Dr S. Unnikrishnan Nair, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, where the HS200 was designed and developed.
“The successful completion of this test marks a major milestone for the prestigious human space flight mission of ISRO, the Gaganyaan,” Isro said.
The LVM3 has a successful track record including the Chandrayaan mission and is intended for launching 4,000-kg class of satellites to geosynchronous transfer orbit about 37,000 km above Earth.
For the manned mission, LVM3 was upgraded with design improvements to increase the safety and reliability of various systems.
The control system used in HS200 employs one of the world’s most powerful electro-mechanical actuators with multiple redundancies and safety features, Isro said.
Out of the three propulsion stages of the human-rated LVM3, the second stage is known as L110-G and is loaded with liquid propellant and the third stage, C25-G, carries cryogenic propellant. They are in the final phase of qualification including tests with static firing.