October 09, 2023
CE20 engine is the first indigenously developed cryogenic engine that powers the upper stage (C25) of LVM3 rocket. The engine was already qualified to operate at a thrust level of 19 tonnes and performed successfully in 6 successive LVM3 missions, including the Chandrayaan-2, Chandrayaan-3 and two commercial OneWeb missions. In order to improve the payload capability of LVM3, the upper cryogenic stage is reconfigured as the C32 stage with enhanced propellants loading and the engine operating at a thrust level of 22 tonnes. In order to operate at an increased thrust level of 22 tonnes, the engine has to be re-qualified by conducting a number of ground hot tests.
The twelfth hardware of the CE20 engine (E13 engine) is currently being used for 22 tonne thrust level qualification program. After completing the engine tuning hot test (E13 HT-01) for 50 s duration, the second long-duration hot test (E13 HT-02)was successfully completed for a duration of 720 s on August 30, 2023, & the third hot test (E13 HT-03)was successfully completed for flight duration of 670 s (with 22t thrust) on September 22, 2023. With the completion of E13 HT-03, the Gaganyaan qualification of the CE20 engine was completed. The fourth hot test (E13 HT-04), planned for demonstrating the off-nominal operation of the engine (22t+5%PC & -5%MR), was successfully conducted for 125s duration on October 9, 2023 at MET facility, IPRC, Mahendragiri. During this test, engine and facility performance was normal and the required engine performance parameters were achieved as predicted. With this test, the CE20 engine is qualified for operating at 22t thrust level in flight.
Engine during Steady-State Operation in E13 HT-04
A comparison of the Thrust Chamber and gas Generator Pressure is given in the figure below:
Thrust Chamber & Gas Generator Pressure