ISRO successfully tests its PS4 3D Printed Rocket Engine

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Testing of the PS4 3D Printed Rocket Engine underway
Testing of the PS4 3D Printed Rocket Engine underway/Source: ISRO

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), India’s primary national space agency, has successfully completed a long-duration test of its PS4 3D printed rocket engine. The engine used is the PS4 engine from the PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) upper stage. The redesigned engine, which is now a single component, saves 97% of raw materials while reducing manufacture time by 60%.

On May 9, ISRO accomplished a key milestone by successfully hot testing a liquid rocket engine produced using AM technology for 665 seconds.

ISRO tests PS4 3D Printed Rocket Engine

The PS4 rocket engine
The PS4 rocket engine/Source: ISRO

The PS4 engine, which was constructed using the traditional machining and welding process, is used in the fourth stage of PSLV and has a thrust of 7.33 kN in vacuum conditions. The same engine powers the Reaction Control System (RCS) of PSLV’s first stage (PS1).

In pressure-fed mode, the engine uses the earth-storable bipropellant combinations of Nitrogen Tetroxide as an oxidizer and Mono Methyl Hydrazine as fuel. It was created by ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC). LPSC rebuilt the engine to accommodate the Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) principle, resulting in significant gains.

The Laser Powder Bed Fusion technique used reduced the number of parts from 14 to a single piece and eliminated 19 weld joints, resulting in a significant reduction in raw material usage per engine (13.7 kg of metal powder compared to 565 kg of forgings and sheets for conventional manufacturing) and a 60% reduction in overall production time.

The engine was manufactured in India by WIPRO 3D and hot tested at the ISRO Propulsion Complex in Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu.

“As part of the development programme, the injector head of the engine was realised and successfully hot tested earlier. Detailed flow and thermal modelling, structural simulation, and cold flow characterisation of the proto hardware were carried out to gain confidence for the hot test.”

– According to ISRO Press Statement

As a result, four successful developmental hot tests of the integrated engine were conducted for a total of 74 seconds, validating the engine’s performance specifications.

Furthermore, the engine was successfully tested for the full 665-second qualification length, and all performance metrics were found to be as expected. The PS4 3D printed rocket engine will be integrated into the standard PSLV programme, according to ISRO.

About Manufactur3D: Manufactur3D is an online magazine on 3D Printing. Visit our Indian Scenario page for more updates on 3D Printing News from India. To stay up-to-date about the latest happenings in the 3D printing world, like us on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Abhimanyu Chavan is the founder of Manufactur3D Magazine. He writes on Additive Manufacturing technology, interviews industry leaders, shares industry insights, and expresses his thoughts on the latest developments in the industry. You can follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
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