India’s Space-Tech Startup Skyroot Aerospace Unveils 100% 3D Printed Dhawan-1 Rocket Engine

3D printed cryogenic engine
3D printed cryogenic engine
Above: The 3D printed cryogenic engine is expected to be used in the upper stage of its Vikram -II rocket for propulsion/Image Source: Skyroot Aerospace

Skyroot Aerospace, a Hyderabad-based Startup working towards Democratizing Space Access, unveiled its 100% 3D printed cryogenic engine named Dhawan-1. The Dhawan-1 rocket engine will be operating on 100% cryo propellents like Liquid Natural gas (LNG) and Liquid Oxygen (LoX).

The Dhawan-1 rocket engine was aptly unveiled on the occasion of the 100th birth anniversary of Dr. Satish Dhawan. According to a statement released by the Startup, it said that the engine has been named after the celebrated scientist and mathematician to honour and respect his critical role in the development of the Indian space sector and taking ISRO to new heights of success during his term as the ISRO Chairman in 1972.

Skyroot Aerospace also mentioned that the Dhawan-1 rocket engine in a completely 3D printed cryogenic engine and proudly revealed that it is 100% “Made in India” product.

3D Printed Dhawan-1 Rocket Engine

Dhawan-1 Rocket Engine
Above: Dhawan-1 rocket Engine is completely 3D printed/Image Source: Skyroot Aerospace/Twitter

A cryogenic rocket engine uses liquid cryogenic fuel and oxidizer, stored at very low temperatures. According to reports, the cryogenic temperature has been defined to refer to temperatures below -150 degrees Celsius. Engines using cryogenic fuels are used in the upper stages of rockets for propulsion technology.

Sharing more details on the Dhawan-1 rocket engine, Pawan Kumar Chandana, Co-founder and CEO, explained, “Liquid Natural gas (LNG) is a clean-burning, low-cost, highly-reusable, and safe cryogenic fuel, which is also ideal for long-duration deep space missions carrying satellites or humans.”

He added, “We have completed tests to check the fuel flow and structural integrity of the engine. Skyroot is presently building a dedicated test facility to carry out “hot fire” testing of Dhawan-1 rocket engine.”

According to the Startup this 3D printed cryogenic engine is expected to be used in the upper stage of its Vikram-II rocket for propulsion.

Speaking at the launch, Naga Bharath Daka, Co-founder and COO, Skyroot Aerospace said, “Our rocket engine is named ‘Dhawan-1’ in honour of eminent Indian rocket scientist Dr. Satish Dhawan, who played an instrumental role in the development of the Indian Space Programme. Dhawan-1 rocket engine is a 100 percent 3D printed cryogenic engine with regenerative cooling.”

Skyroot revealed that it’s Senior Vice President V. Gnanagandhi, former ISRO scientist and Padma Shri awardee, is responsible for leading the cryogenic propulsion team.

Pawan and Naga, former ISRO scientists, had launched Skyroot Aerospace to develop privately built space launch vehicles. The Startup’s Vikram series — named after ISRO founder Dr. Vikram Sarabhai — consists of three launch vehicles developed especially for launching small satellites.

Merely a month back Skyroot Aersospace had successfully test-fired its upper stage rocket engine fitted with a 100% 3D printed injector – a part of its Vikram I launch vehicle. The Vikram-1 is under manufacturing and is expected to be launched in December 2021. The vehicle is equipped with an Orbit Adjustment Module (OAM) at the top, which provides the final burn, and can insert multiple satellites into space.

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