The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Sunday successfully tested its own scramjet, an engine that will take atmospheric oxygen to burn engine fuel, in the future.
A senior ISRO official informed that two scramjet engines took off from the rocket port located at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
"The mission was successful. Two scramjet engines were tested during the flight. The scramjet engines were ignited 55 seconds into the rocket's flight. The engines were tested for six seconds," a senior ISRO official told IANS.
The engine, used only during the atmospheric phase of a rocket's flight, will help bring down launch costs by reducing the amount of oxidiser that needs to be carried along with fuel. It will eventually be used to power ISRO's reusable launch vehicle (RLV) at hypersonic speed.
ISRO scientists said that the engine, by using atmospheric oxygen, will also reduce the weight of the vehicle during lift-off by more than half and enable it to carry heavier payloads into orbit. The scramjet engine is ideally suited for launch vehicles moving at hypersonic speed.
Unlike conventional rocket which carries fuel and oxidiser, the scramjet 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.
Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre K Sivan earlier said that it is an important experiment, as the engine will eventually be used in the RLV.