India’s space agency has plans to start a new facility for production of cryogenic engines and components for its future rockets.
The cryogenic engine manufacturing unit, to be established at the aerospace division of the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) in Bengaluru three years from now, is estimated to cost around $25 million (1.4 billion rupees), Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) chief K. Radhakrishnan says.
ISRO currently produces cryogenic engines in partnership with a consortium of Indian private companies — Godrej and Hyderabad’s MTAR.
“We have our own workstation where we produce structures, tankages and assemble rocket stages. With one more work center, the capacity can be increased,” the ISRO chief says.
India started developing cryogenic rocket engine technology in 1993. The first flight test of the indigenous cryogenic stage onboard a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) failed in 2010, with the rocket plunging into the sea minutes after liftoff.
India’s geostationary launch vehicles include the GSLV and GSLV Mk. 3, an advanced version that will weigh 640 tons at liftoff and is designed to launch communications satellites weighing more than 4 metric tons.
“We are starting another line. It will fabricate the components required for cryogenic engines. We need them for the GSLV Mk. 3 and also [a] semi cryo-engine for the future,” Radhakrishnan says.
Presently, HAL assembles stages of the GSLV Mk. 3 vehicle. The structure for a Mars orbiter spacecraft, due for launch later this year, also comes from its aerospace facility.