Gaganyaan Mission: ISRO Completes Human Rating of CE20 Cryogenic Engine

Bengaluru: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has reached a significant milestone in the human-rating process of its CE20 cryogenic engine. This engine powers the cryogenic stage of the LVM3 launch vehicle, designated for Gaganyaan human spaceflight missions. The completion of the final round of ground qualification tests marks a crucial step in this endeavour.

Announcing the achievement on Wednesday, ISRO emphasized the rigorous testing undergone by the CE20 cryogenic engine. These tests, conducted at the High Altitude Test Facility at ISRO Propulsion Complex in Mahendragiri, simulated various flight conditions. The testing regimen included life demonstration, endurance tests, and performance assessments under nominal and off-nominal operating conditions.

According to ISRO, all ground qualification tests for the CE20 engine, essential for the Gaganyaan program, have been successfully concluded. To meet human rating standards, four engines underwent a total of 39 hot firing tests, accumulating over 8,810 seconds of operation. This surpasses the minimum requirement of 6,350 seconds.

Moreover, ISRO has completed acceptance tests for the flight engine earmarked for the first unmanned Gaganyaan (G1) mission, tentatively scheduled for the second quarter of 2024. This engine, which will propel the upper stage of the human-rated LVM3 vehicle, boasts a thrust capability of 19 to 22 tonnes and a specific impulse of 442.5 seconds.

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