The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on January 20 conducted a successful qualification test of its High Thrust VIKAS Engine at the ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) in Tamil Nadu's Mahendragiri. The engine was fired for a duration of 25 seconds as part of the preparations for the Gaganyaan mission slated for launch later this year.

"Today, January 20, 2022, High Thrust VIKAS Engine for Gaganyaan programme has successfully undergone qualification test for a duration of 25 seconds at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu", ISRO wrote in its tweet.

ISRO informed that the engine met all the performance objectives during the test and its parameters, during the test, closely matched the prediction of the engineers. "The test carried out today is to verify the robustness of the engine by operating beyond its nominal operating conditions", ISRO said in its report. Further ahead, the agency will carry out three more tests for a cumulative duration of 75 seconds under varying operating conditions. This will be followed by another test of the Vikas engine for 240 seconds before the Vikas engine qualification for the Gaganyaan Program ends.

The latest test marked the third successful qualification test as two engines have already been tested under nominal operating conditions for a total duration of 480 seconds.

ISRO Tests Homemade Cryogenic Engine For Gaganyaan

Prior to the latest qualification test, ISRO had fired its cryogenic engine for a duration of 720 seconds also as part of the Gaganyaan mission. Cryogenic engines use propellants namely liquid hydrogen at -250º C plus liquid oxygen at -196º C and provide more efficiency and thrust as compared to solid and earth-storable liquid propellants. ISRO had said that these engines will be used in the launch vehicles meant to carry Indian astronauts to space in 2023.

ISRO will conduct three launches under the mission that will start from the second half of 2022, two of which will be unmanned. Interestingly, the second uncrewed launch will involve an ISRO-made spacefaring robot named "Vyommitra", which will be used to gather data before launching actual astronauts in the third flight.