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30 kN Hybrid Motor Successfully Tested at IPRC



The Indian Space Agency ISRO has successfully tested a hybrid motor at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), Mahendragiri, supported by Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre. The motor used Hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) as fuel and liquid oxygen (LOX) as the oxidizer, which is different from the traditionally used solid-solid or liquid-liquid combinations by ISRO. It is a hybrid motor which is a combination of solid fuel and liquid oxidizer.


Developed by the scientists at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), the flight test equivalent 30kN hybrid motor demonstrated ignition and was fired for 15 seconds during which it ensured sustained combustion. According to ISRO, the motor is said to be advantageous due to its safe and green propulsion system. ISRO also highlighted that hybrid motors facilitate throttling and enable the re-start capability. “the hybrid motor tested today is scalable & stackable, potentially paving the way for a new propulsion system for future launch vehicles,” stated ISRO in a Tweet.


This development comes just hours after a batch of 36 satellites part of a constellation by UK-based One Web arrived in India to be launched into LEO (Low Earth orbit) on a GSLV-MKIII.


Launch of OneWeb satellites

New Space India Limited, the commercial arm of the ISRO, and OneWeb, the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications have entered into an agreement on 20th April, 2022 for OneWeb’s satellite launch programme. In the recent updates, 36 satellites have arrived in India on Tuesday, i.e. 20th September, 2022 that will be launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation into Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The satellite constellation will be launched onboard ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV MK-III) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.


“Undertaking the launch of 36 OneWeb satellites onboard GSLV-MkIII from India is a historic moment for NSIL and Isro. We are excited to see the arrival of the satellites and the ground support equipment in India in preparation for the launch,” Radhakrishnan D, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, NewSpace India Limited, said in a statement.


VSSC/ISRO successfully tested a hybrid motor at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), Mahendragiri, supported by Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC/ISRO). The motor used Hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) as fuel and liquid oxygen (LOX) as the oxidizer. Unlike solid-solid or liquid-liquid combinations, a hybrid motor uses solid fuel and liquid oxidizer.

Today’s test of a flight equivalent 30 kN hybrid motor demonstrated ignition and sustained combustion for the intended duration of 15 seconds. The motor performance was satisfactory.

The use of liquids facilitates throttling and the control over the flow rate of LOX enables the re-start capability. While both HTPB and LOX are green, LOX is safer to handle. The hybrid motor tested today is scalable and stackable, potentially paving the way for a new propulsion system for the forthcoming launch vehicles.


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