India to develop semi-cryogenic engines for space travel

December 19th, 2008 - 9:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Dec 19 (IANS) The Indian government Friday approved the development of semi-cryogenic engines for space transportation at a cost of Rs.1,798 crore (approx Rs.18 billion) with a foreign exchange component of Rs.588 crore (Rs. 5.88 billion).”The objective is designing, fabricating and testing this advanced technology in India in six years time,” Home Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters after a cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“This will be an important step towards self-reliance in advanced space transportation technology,” he said, adding that such systems were currently available only with the US and Russia.

According to the minister, the storable liquid stages of the PSLV and GSLV engines presently used release harmful products into the environment.

“The trend worldwide is to change over to eco-friendly propellants. Liquid engines working with cryogenic propellants - liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen - and semi-cryogenic engines using liquid oxygen and kerosene are considered relatively environment friendly, non-toxic and non-corrosive,” Chidambaram pointed out.

“In addition, the propellants for semi-cryogenic engines are safer to handle and store,” he stated.

The semi-cryogenic engines will facilitate applications for future space missions like the reusable launch vehicle, the unified launch vehicle and the vehicle for inter-planetary missions, Chidambaram added.

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