Indian Space Agency Test Launches Supersonic Combustion Ramjet

Indian space agency, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Sunday morning successfully tested its own scramjet or the air breathing engine, with the launch of a big sounding rocket, said a senior official of ISRO.

Riding on the wave of the success of its Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV-TD) and the recent success of PSLV-34, ISRO is now testing a futuristic rocket propulsion system called “scramjet,” or Supersonic Combustion Ramjet.

In Scramjet engines, the oxygen needed by the engine to combust is taken from the atmosphere passing through the vehicle, instead of from a tank onboard, thus making the aircraft lighter, smaller, and faster.

High Ranking ISRO Official

The mission was successful. Two scramjet engines were tested during the flight. The finer details about the test will be known later.

He said that as scheduled, the two stage/engine RH-560 sounding rocket took off from the rocket port located at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

He said the two air-breathing engines would be hugging the rocket on its sides and normally, when the rocket reaches a height of 11 km, the scramjet engines would start breathing air.

The scramjet engines were ignited 55 seconds into the rocket’s flight. The engines were tested for six seconds.

The scramjet engine, used only during the atmospheric phase of the rocket’s flight, will help in bringing down the launch cost by reducing the amount of oxidiser that needs to be carried along with the fuel.

(With agency inputs)