ISRO announced on Thursday that the payload capability of India’s heaviest LVM3 rocket has been enhanced by up to 450kg with a successful engine test. According to the Indian Space Research Organisation, the CE20 cryogenic engine indigenously developed for Launch Vehicle Mark 3 (LVM3) was subjected to a successful hot test at an uprated thrust level of 21.8 tonnes for the first time on November 9, the country’s national space agency headquartered here said in a statement.
“This will enhance the LVM3 payload capability up to 450 kg with additional propellant loading”, ISRO said. The major modifications carried out on this test article compared to previous engines was the introduction of Thrust Control Valve (TCV) for thrust control, the space agency added.
“In addition to this, 3D printed LOX and LH2 turbine exhaust casings were inducted in the engine for the first time. During this test, the engine operated with approximately 20 tonne thrust level for first 40s, then thrust level was increased to 21.8 tonnes by moving the thrust control valve,” the statement said.
“During the test, engine and facility performance was normal and required parameters were achieved,” it said.
LVM3, a three-stage vehicle with two solid motor strap-ons, a liquid propellant core stage and a cryogenic stage, is capable of launching a four-tonne class of satellites into geosynchronous transfer orbit.
On Wednesday, the Indian Space Research Organisation stated that it was preparing for the first runway landing experiment (RLV-LEX) of Reusable Launch Vehicle – Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) from aeronautical test range in Karnataka’s Chitradurga district, with its Chairman S Somanath indicating that weather is being monitored.
“We are looking at the climate. Climate is still not good. So, we are waiting for the wind and other systems to become benign. We will do that,” Somanath, also Secretary in the Department of Space, told PTI.
According to ISRO officials, the RLV wing body will be carried using a helicopter to an altitude of three to five km and released at a distance of about four to five km ahead of the runway with a horizontal velocity. After the release, the RLV will glide, navigate towards the runway and land autonomously with a landing gear in the defence airfield near Chitradurga.