Chennai: India on Sunday morning successfully tested its own scramjet or the air breathing engine with the launch of a big sounding rocket, said a senior official of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
"The mission was successful. Two scramjet engines were tested during the flight. The finer details about the test will be known later," the official not wanting to be quoted told Media.
He said that as scheduled the two stage/engine RH-560 sounding rocket took off from the rocket port located at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
He said the two air breathing engines were like hugging the rocket on its sides and normally when the rocket reaches a height of 11 km the scramjet engines would start breathing air.
"The scramjet engines were ignited 55 seconds into the rocket’s flight. The engines were tested for six seconds," he added.
The scramjet engine, used only during the atmospheric phase of the rocket's flight, will help in bringing down the launch cost by reducing the amount of oxidiser to be carried along with the fuel.
Unlike conventional rocket engines which carry both fuel and oxidiser, the scramjet engine with its air-breathing propulsion system technology will forcefully compress atmospheric oxygen when the rocket is in supersonic speed. The atmospheric oxygen will act as an oxidiser to burn the fuel (liquid hydrogen) being carried.
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