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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Bharatiya private venture Skyroot unveils first 3D cryogenic engine named Dhawan 1

Skyroot, a startup based in Hyderabad has claimed to have developed a fully cryogenic Rocket Engine named Dhawan-1, on 100th birth anniversary of Dr. Satish Dhawan. The company broke the news on Twitter and also mentioned a few major features of the engine.

According to the company, the engine is 3D printed, completely cryogenic and 100% made in Bharat. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing is a key technology in what is dubbed by World Economic Forum as Industrial Revolution 4.0. This means that the whole product, in this case the engine, is produced from a CAD model or a digital 3D model. Indeed, it is expected to revolutionize manufacturing in coming decades.

The cryogenic engine uses liquid fuel and an oxidizer that is maintained at extremely cold temperatures. Cryogenic is a generic term that can be used to describe temperatures below -150 degrees Celsius. Such engines are used in the upper most stages of rockets, which are used for propulsion in space. Only a few countries have this technology which includes ISRO of Bharat, US, Russia, Japan, China and France. Skyroot will be the first Bharatiya private company to have this technology. The company says that this engine will work on Liquefied Natural Gas and Cryogenic Oxygen i.e. LNG/LoX fuel.

The company, founded about 2 years ago, has received significant funding from many private investors. It employs and is run by former ISRO engineers. It has already claimed that it developed three launch vehicles – Vikram I, II, and III – which can carry payloads ranging from 225 kg to 720 kg and place them in various Low Earth orbits. The current engine would be used in Vikram II and III launch vehicles, which have a cryogenic upper stage according to their website.

It must be noted that the government is trying to promote private ventures in Space and had in June announced that the private companies would be able to use the ISRO infrastructure. It had created a Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centres (IN-SPACe) to provide a level playing field for private companies to use Bharatiya space infrastructure.

Bharat has a lot of potential in the field of space technology. We have a great talent pool of qualified engineers with experience and infrastructure is now being provided by the ISRO. In past too Bharatiya companies like Team Indus have created space technologies and made waves, however the lack of capital has proved to be the Achilles heel. The only solution to this is that govt should provide  some capital subsidy/loans on easy terms to such companies and recover the same after a few years of moratorium. Such public private partnership will reduce the cost of space exploration and also ensure that private companies become commercially viable.

In USA, this model has been found successful. The US govt ended the human spaceflight programme of NASA in 2011. SpaceX of Elon Musk has, in the meanwhile, sent Americans to ISS earlier this year. SpaceX could do this because it got tens of millions of dollars in subsidies and billions of dollars in contracts from NASA. This is a model worth following in Bharat, where the costs would be much lower.

(Featured Image Source: Twitter account of )

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Pawan Pandey
Pawan Pandey
Pawan Pandey is an Educator based in Dehradun, currently working as Senior Staff Writer with HinduPost. He is an Engineer by training and a teacher by passion. He teaches for Civil Service Exams as well as for Common Law Admission Test. He has deep interest in politics, economy, culture and all things Bharatiya. He fancies himself to be a loving husband and doting father. His weakness is Bharatiya food, particularly sweets. His hobbies include reading, writing and listening to Bharatiya music.


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