General Studies IIIScience and Tech

Vikas engine


Recently, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully conducted a 25-second qualification test for its liquid propellant-based High Thrust Vikas engine to be used under the Gaganyaan mission.

About Vikas engine:

  • The Vikas engine (a portmanteau from initials of VIKram Ambalal Sarabhai) is a family of liquid fuelled rocket engines conceptualized and designed by the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre in the 1970s. 
  • The design was based on the licensed version of the Viking engine with the chemical pressurization system. 
  • The early production Vikas engines used some imported French components which were later replaced by domestically produced equivalents. 
  • It is used in the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) series of expendable launch vehicles for space launch use.
  • Vikas engine is used to power the second stage of PSLV, boosters and second stage of GSLV Mark I and II and also the core stage of GSLV Mark III.
  • The propellant loading for Vikas engine in PSLV, GSLV Mark I and II is 40 tons, while in GSLV Mark III is 55 tons.
  • Two new types of Vikas engines, HTVE (High Thrust VIKAS Engine) and HPVE (High Pressure or High Speed VIKAS Engine), are of particular interest. 
  • Its recent test was conducted at ISRO Propulsion Complex in Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu.
  • It was done to see how the engine performed in conditions that were not optimal, such as change in the fuel-oxidiser ratio or pressure in the fuel chamber.
  • With regard to the Vikas engine qualification for the Gaganyaan mission, two engines have already undergone tests under nominal operating conditions for a total duration of 480 seconds.
  • The first stage of the launch vehicle, which used solid propellant, is already qualified for the mission.
  • Three more tests are set to be conducted for a cumulative duration of 75 seconds under varying operating conditions as the agency prepares for the first Indian astronaut mission.
  • Another high thrust Vikas engine will undergo a long-duration test for 240 seconds to complete the Vikas engine qualification for Gaganyaan mission.

Gaganyaan mission-

  • It envisages undertaking the demonstration of human spaceflight to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in the short-term and will lay the foundation for a sustained Indian human space exploration programme in the long run.
  • Formal announcement of the Gaganyaan programme was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day address on August 15, 2018.
  • The initial target was to launch human space flight before the 75th anniversary of India’s independence on August 15, 2022.
  • This mission is delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and successive lockdowns, Gaganyaan, will be launched in 2023.
  • As part of this programme, two unmanned missions and one manned mission are approved by Government of India (GoI).
  • The test vehicle flight for the validation of Crew Escape System performance and the first uncrewed mission of Gaganyaan are scheduled at the beginning of the second half of 2022.
  • ISRO’s heavy-lift launcher GSLV Mk III has been identified for the mission.
  • Once launched, India will be the fourth nation in the world to launch a human spaceflight mission after the US, Russia and China.


  • The GTRE GTX-35VS Kaveri is an afterburning turbofan project developed by the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), a lab under the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in Bengaluru, India.
  • An Indian design, the Kaveri was originally intended to power production models of the HAL Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) being built by the Aeronautical Development Agency.
  • However, the Kaveri programme failed to satisfy the necessary technical requirements or keep up with its envisaged timelines and was officially delinked from the Tejas programme in September 2008.
  • Snecma, on a tie up with DRDO, is slated to revive and certify the engine as part of the offsets deal for 36 Dassault Rafale jets purchased by India.

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Source: TOI

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