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ISRO Cryogenic Engine: Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) , Videos and Report

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  1. anant_s

    anant_s SENIOR MEMBER

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    Introduction


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    Launching heavy satellites weighing over 2 tons into geostationary orbit requires an upper stage powered by a cryogenic engine. Cryogenic technology involves the use of liquid oxygen at minus 183 degrees Celsius and liquid hydrogen at minus 253 degrees Celsius. The technology is difficult to develop and closely guarded by the five nations who currently have it - USA, Russia, Europe, China and Japan.


    ISRO's Initial Cryogenic Engine Development Efforts
    ISRO started developing a cryogenic engine shortly after the project to develop the Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) was launched in 1986. The GSLV is capable of placing a 2 ton satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).
    Initially ISRO scientists attempted to develop a cryogenic engine on their own, but made little progress,


    Transfer of Technology (TOT) from Russia

    In 1991 ISRO entered into a $120 million contract with Glavkosmos of Russia for the supply of two KVD-1 cryogenic engines and the complete transfer of technology for those engines.


    The KVD-1 is the one and only oxygen/hydrogen liquid-propellant rocket engine in Russia known to have passed through full-scale ground testing routine. KVD-1's prototype known as 11D56 was developed between 1965-1972 by the Design Bureau of Chemical Machine-Building ( KB Khimmash) for the fourth stage of a future version of heavy Lunar N-1 launch vehicle. Bench trials of the engine commenced in 1966.


    The KVD-1 engine is a single-chambered unit with a turbopump system designed to feed propellants; and includes afterburning: a feature characteristic of any powerful Russian liquid-propellant rocket engine design.


    The engine can be used in cryogenic upper stages designed to put payloads into high-altitude elliptical, geostationary orbits or escape trajectories.


    Russia Reneges on Cryogenic Engine TOT

    In July 1993, under US pressure, Russia went back on its agreement to transfer cryogenic technology to India on the grounds that it would violate Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). In lieu of cryogenic technology, Russia agreed to sell two additional cryogenic stages to India.


    Following Russia's refusal, India had to develop cryogenic technology it on its own.


    ISRO's Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS)

    ISRO has developed its cryogenic upper stage at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu.


    ISRO's development efforts benefitted from design drawings and other information obtained under the original contract with Russia, and from the extensive training that ISRO engineers received in Russia.


    ISRO is believed to have contracted former Russian space technicians to assist in the development effort. The outright supply of two KVD-1 engines provided ISRO a conduit to the source of KVD-1 technology.


    ISRO's biggest challenge was to develop the special alloys and high-speed turbines required for use with cryogenic fuels. At very low temperatures of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, metals become brittle.


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    Indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage being lifted at Vehicle Assembly Building for stacking on GSLV-D3 launcher

    The special alloys developed needed new welding techniques and the cryogenic engine fuel pumps required new types of lubricants.


    ISRO's painstaking development effort soon fell behind schedule, threatening its other space programs.


    Because of delays in the production of the KVD-1 derivative, in December 2001, ISRO entered into an agreement with Khrunichev Space Centre for supply of five additional KVD-1 engines. The additional purchase ensured the continuity of the GSLV program.


    Current Cryogenic Engine Inventory

    Of the seven cryogenic upper stages supplied by Russia, ISRO has so far used six.


    The last five GSLV flights from Sriharikota were powered by the Russian cryogenic stages. A cryogenic stage includes the engine, propellant tanks, motor casing and wiring.

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    Indian Cryogenic Upper Stage Overview

    The Indian CUS comprises


    1.A main cryogenic engine
    2.Two smaller (cryogenic) steering engines for orientation and stabilization.
    3.Insulated propellant tanks
    4.Booster pumps
    5.Iinter-stage structures
    6.Fill and drain systems
    7.Pressurisation systems
    8.Gas bottles
    9.Command block
    10.Igniters
    11.Pyro valves
    12.Cold gas
    The main engine is a regenerative cooled engine which works on staged combustion cycle, producing a thrust of 69.5 kilo Newton (kN) in vacuum.


    The main engine, and two smaller (cryogenic) steering engines together develop a nominal thrust of 73.55 kN in vacuum. The main engine of CUS achieves a specific impulse of 452 seconds.


    During the flight, CUS fires for a nominal duration of 720 seconds.


    Liquid Oxygen (LOX) and Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) from the respective tanks are fed by individual booster pumps to the main turbo-pump, which rotates at 39,000 rpm to ensure a high flow rate of 16.6 kg/sec of propellants into the combustion chamber. The main turbine is driven by the hot gas produced in a pre-burner. Thrust control and mixture ratio control are achieved by two independent regulators. LOX and Gaseous Hydrogen (GH2) are ignited by pyrogen type igniters in the pre-burner as well as in the main and steering engines during initial stages.


    Apart from the complexities in the fabrication of stage tanks, structures, engine and its subsystems and control components, CUS employs special materials like Aluminum, Titanium, Nickel and their alloys, bi-metallic materials and polyimides. Stringent quality control and elaborate safety measures have to be ensured during assembly and integration.


    Indian Cryogenic Engine First Test Flight Failure

    The first test flight of ISRO developed Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) on board the GSLV D-3 failed on Thursday, April 15, 2010.
    Initial indications are that the CUS ignited after the first two stages performed flawlessly, lifting the rocket to a height of 60 km and imparting it a velocity of 4.9 km/sec as designed.


    Subsequently, the rocket was seen to tumble indicating a failure of the two vernier engines on the CUS.


    While the main engine of the CUS provides the thrust necessary to loft the satellite to a GTO orbit, two smaller cryogenic vernier engines help steer the rocket along its programmed trajectory.


    The failure initially drove ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan to tears but he soon gathered himself and promised that ISRO will perform a detailed analysis to determine why the vernier engines did not ignite, and whether the main cryogenic engine did ignite.


    Pointing out the ISRO scientists and technicians had worked hard for 18 years to come to this level, Radhakrishnan promised to be ready for another launch within an year.


    The GSLV D3 launcher was carrying the 2.4 ton GSAT-4.

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    Cryogenic Engine Failure Analysis

    On Sunday, April 18, 2010, after a two day meeting chaired by ISRO Chief K. Radhakrishnan to analysze GSLV D-3 telemetry data, space scientists announced that the CUS ignited but shut down within a second because the turbo pump supplying fuel to the engine stopped working.


    "The data clearly shows that combustion [of the cryogenic engine fuel, liquid hydrogen at minus 253 degree Celsius, and the oxidiser, liquid oxygen at minus 183 degree Celsius] had indeed taken place. The rocket's acceleration had increased for a second before it drifted off the designated flight path. Indications are that the turbine that powered the fuel turbo pump had somehow failed. [The propellants are pumped using turbo pumps running around 4,000 rpm.] There could be various reasons for its failure," a senior ISRO scientist told The Hindu.


    A 'Failure Analysis Committee' will now attempt to zero in on the exact reason for the failure and submit its report by May-end. Next, the national experts' panel, constituted to review and give clearance to the GSLV-D3 mission, will examine the report.

    Failure Analysis Committee Pinpoints Cause of Failure


    The committee submitted its report on July 9, 2010. It attributed the failure of the third stage to a malfunction of the Fuel Booster Turbo Pump in the liquid hydrogen tank of the CUS.


    The following are relevant excerpts from the committees report:


    "Following a smooth countdown, the lift-off took place at 1627 hrs (IST) as planned. All four liquid strap-on stages (L40), solid core stage (S139), liquid second stage (GS2) functioned normally.


    The vehicle performance was normal up to the burn-out of GS-2, that is, 293 seconds from lift-off. Altitude, velocity, flight path angle and acceleration profile closely followed the pre-flight predictions. All onboard real time decision-based events were as expected and as per pre-flight simulations.


    The navigation, guidance and control systems using indigenous onboard computer Vikram 1601 as well as the advanced telemetry system functioned flawlessly. The composite payload fairing of 4 metre diameter inducted first time in this flight, also performed as expected. Performance of all other systems like engine gimbal control systems and stage auxiliary systems was normal.


    The initial conditions required for the start of the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) were attained as expected and the CUS start sequence got initiated as planned at 294.06 seconds from lift-off.


    Ignition of the CUS Main Engine and two Steering Engines have been confirmed as normal, as observed from the vehicle acceleration and different parameters of CUS measured during the flight. Vehicle acceleration was comparable with that of earlier GSLV flights up to 2.2 seconds from start of CUS. However, the thrust build up did not progress as expected due to non-availability of liquid hydrogen (LH2) supply to the thrust chamber of the Main Engine.


    The above failure is attributed to the anomalous stopping of Fuel Booster Turbo Pump (FBTP). The start-up of FBTP was normal. It reached a maximum speed of 34,800 rpm and continued to function as predicted after the start of CUS. However, the speed of FBTP started dipping after 0.9 seconds and it stopped within the next 0.6 seconds.


    Two plausible scenarios have been identified for the failure of FBTP, namely, (a) gripping at one of the seal location and seizure of rotor and (b) rupture of turbine caused probably due to excessive pressure rise and thermal stresses. A series of confirmatory ground tests are planned.


    After incorporating necessary corrective measures, the flight testing of Indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage on GSLV is targeted within a year."


    In the meantime, the next two GSLVs would fly with the available Russian Cryogenic Stages.


    Cryogenic Engine Ground Tests

    Vacuum Ignition Test

    ISRO successfully tested ignition of the cryogenic engine under simulated high altitude conditions on Wednesday, March 28, 2013 at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari district.


    The hot-test took place in the newly-built high altitude test facility (HAT) at ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) at Mahendragiri.


    "The test was held at 7.55 p.m. on Wednesday, simulating the high altitude conditions to see whether ignition of the indigenously developed cryogenic engine takes place smoothly, as per the expected temperature, pressure and flow parameters," said Director of LPSC M.C. Dathan.


    "The ignition was perfect and it gave all the parameters as per our predictions and it has given us an excellent confidence to go ahead with the GSLV-D5 launch from Sriharikota in July." he added.


    With the successful test, the indigenous cryogenic engine would be fully assembled and the cryogenic stage itself delivered at Sriharikota in a month’s time.


    "Once it reaches Sriharikota, it may take more than two months to fully assemble the vehicle and conduct all tests. So we are planning to launch the GSLV-D5 in the second half of July,” said Mr. Dathan.


    Sea Level Test

    On Saturday, May 12, 2012, ISRO carried out the first test of the the indigenous cryogenic engine since the failure of the engine on April 15, 2010 during the launch of GSLV D-3.


    The engine was tested at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) at Mahendragiri for 200 seconds.


    Following the successful test, ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan told reporters that the engine would undergo another two tests, including endurance test of 1, 000 seconds and vacuum ignition test.

    Indian Cryogenic Engine Second Test Flight

    ISRO's CUS will be tested for the second time in June 2013 on GSLV D-5 carrying GSAT-14. The test was earlier scheduled for Sep/Oct 2012.


    ISRO Chief K Radhakrishnan told the press on March 17, 2013, "We are planning to move the engine to Sriharikota by April end and will carry out high vacuum testing by the end of this month. Then, maybe, one more test is required. Once the flight stage is in Sriharikota, it is a question of preparing for the launch."


    A follow-up GLSV launch using the ISRO CUS is planned to flight certify the engine.


    The two GSLV missions using the ISRO CUS, if successful, will make the GSLV operational following two back-to-back failures of the launcher in 2010.


    The single remaining Russian cryogenic engine will be flown after Russia fixes the shroud defect that led to the failure of GSLV-F-06.

    Cryogenic Engine Test Facility

    ISRO has built a new facility for static testing of the cryogenic engine at the Liquid Propulsions Systems centre (LPSC) at Mahendragiri.


    Speaking to the press on June 18, 2011, after inaugurating a two-day National Conference on "Expanding Frontiers in Propulsion Technology," ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said the facility will be ready in another two months an will be a big boon for the LPSC.


    Following the successful launch of PSLV C19XL on April 26, 2012, ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said ISRO has studied the reasons for the failure in 2010. "Now GSLV will undergo an endurance test of 1,000 seconds and a vacuum test at a special facility at the Liquid Propellant System Centre at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu, where a Rs 300 crore facility for vacuum test has been made," he said.


    "Once we get the green signal from the Ground Testing Team, we would be ready for the GSLV launch,'' he said.

    More Powerful Cryogenic Engine

    ISRO is already working on a more powerful version of the cryogenic engine that it has developed.


    "Our next step is to develop a bigger cryogenic engine with a stress of 20 tons compared to 7.5 tons now," ISRO Chairman, G Madhavan Nair, told PTI in September 2009.


    The current version of the Indigenous Cryogenic Engine develops a thrust of 73 kilo Newtons (kN) in vacuum with a specific impulse of 454 seconds and provides a payload capability of 2200 Kg to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) for GSLV.


    Work is underway to increase the thrust to 90 kN.


    Eventually, all GSLVs will use the Indian Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) that develops 90 kN ton of thrust, against 75 kN of the Russian CUS; and they will carry 15 ton of propellant against 12.5 ton of the Russian engine.


    As a comparison, one of the most powerful cryogenic engines in use is the RS-24. Three of them power the Space Shuttle at lift off along with two solid rocket boosters. Each RS-24, commonly referred to as the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME), produces almost 1.8 mega-newtons (MN) or 400,000 lbf of thrust at liftoff.

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    http://www.isro.org/news/pdf/GSLV-D3.pdf

    Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) - Indian Space Projects
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2013