After successfully testing a technology demonstrator of a reusable launch vehicle, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to test an air-breathing propulsion system, which aims to capitalise on the oxygen in the atmosphere instead of liquefied oxygen while in flight. This system, when implemented, would help in reducing the lift-off mass of the vehicle since liquefied oxygen need not be carried on board the vehicle. This would also help increasing the efficiency of the rocket and also make it cost-effective.
The new propulsion system, once mastered, would complement ISRO’s aim to develop a reusable launch vehicle that would have longer flight duration. The system, involving the scramjet engine, would become crucial while sending up the spacecraft.
According to ISRO, the Dual Mode Ramjet (DMRJ), the ramjet-scramjet combination, “is currently under development, which will operate during the crucial Mach 3 to Mach 9 ascend flight of the launch vehicle.”
ISRO is now evolving and testing various technologies to bring down the cost of launch vehicles. The national space agency has earlier developed rockets that can send multiple satellites in a single mission.