ISRO conducts successful hot tests of a liquid propellant rocket engine

New Delhi

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has achieved a milestone by successfully conducting hot tests of a liquid propellant rocket engine manufactured using additive manufacturing (AM) technology at ISRO’s propulsion complex in Mahendragiri.

This achievement marks a remarkable advance in propulsion technology for space missions.

“ISRO achieved a milestone with the successful hot testing of an additive manufacturing (AM) liquid propellant rocket engine for 665 seconds on May 9, 2024. The engine used is the PSLV upper stage PS4 engine,” the agency’s director said.

“The fourth stage of PSLV uses a PS4 engine manufactured by conventional machining and welding, with a thrust of 7.33 kN under vacuum conditions. The same engine is also used in the reaction control system (RCS) of the first stage (PS1) of PSLV,” he further added.

The engine uses a combination of ground-stored bi-propellants, nitrogen tetroxide as the oxidizer and monomethylhydrazine as the fuel in a pressurized feed mode and has been developed by ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Center (LPSC).

By using the Laser Powder Bed Fusion technique, the number of parts was reduced from 14 to one element, eliminating 19 welded joints. This streamlined production process resulted in significant savings in raw material consumption and a 60% reduction in total production time.

Prior to testing, detailed flow and thermal modeling, structural simulation and cold flow characterization were performed to ensure engine performance.

ISRO conducted four successful hot development tests of the integrated engine, followed by a full qualification test of 665 seconds, during which all performance parameters were observed to be as expected.

ISRO plans to integrate the PS4 AM engine into its regular PSLV program, marking a significant step in space propulsion technology.