Indian space program has achieved a milestone with a successful launch of GSLV-F04 and INSAT-4CR and now the Indian space Research Organisation (ISRO) has aimed to achieve another milestone. The ISRO has planned to use an indigenously developed cryogenic engine in the next launch of GSLV scheduled in March 2008.
ISRO has used the Russian cryogenic engine till the recent launch. Recently, ISRO had tested the cryogenic stage successfully for eight minutes. After the successful testing it will be used as the uppermost stage in the three-stage GSLV-Mark III.
G Ravindranath, Mission Director of the GSLV project said that from the next scheduled launch, ISRO has planned to use own cryogenic engine. This will be a very significant advancement for our space program. Using own-made cryogenic engine would put India in a list of few countries that have mastered the cryogenic technology for space program.
Till now, only US, China, Japan, Russia and the European Space Agency (ESA) have this cryogenic technology of their own. Using the indigenous cryogenic stage would help India to reduce the costs by sizeable amount. India’s dependence on other countries will also be reduced for its space program.
In past years, India had faced many problems in getting the cryogenic engine from Russia. In 1990s, the US had opposed the sale of cryogenic engines by Russia to India. The US had objected on the cryogenic engine sale by saying that that was actually a transfer of technology, which violated the Missile Technology Control Regime.
Later, India had renegotiated with the Russian company Glavkosmos and signed a new agreement to build its own cryogenic engines in the country. However, it would need so many testing before the final use of the India-built cryogenic engines. Ravindranath said that ISRO would need to take six or seven successful flights to be ready for industrial production of these cryogenic engines.