ISRO tests ‘Made-in-India’ 3D-printed rocket engine. What is it? - Hindustan Times
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ISRO tests ‘Made-in-India’ 3D-printed rocket engine. What is it?

By | Edited by Vaibhav Tiwari
May 11, 2024 11:15 AM IST

ISRO tests liquid rocket engine with additive manufacturing technology for PSLV.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) achieved a major feat on Thursday as it successfully tested a liquid rocket engine made with additive manufacturing technology.

ISRO's PS4 engine redesigned using additive manufacturing for enhanced efficiency(ISRO)
ISRO's PS4 engine redesigned using additive manufacturing for enhanced efficiency(ISRO)

According to the space agency, the test lasted 665 seconds and used the PS4 engine from the upper stage of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket, ‘the Workhorse of ISRO,’ which has a stellar track record of delivering satellites to Low-Earth Orbits.

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The PS4 engine, traditionally manufactured through machining and welding, has been pivotal in powering the fourth stage of the PSLV rocket, boasting a vacuum thrust of 7.33 kN. The PS4 engine plays a critical role in accurately deploying payloads into their intended orbits aboard the PSLV. Nowadays, the space agency is increasingly utilising it as a reliable orbital platform for various missions.

This same engine also finds utility in the reaction control system of the first stage (PS1) of the PSLV.

Developed by the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), part of ISRO, the engine operates on earth-storable bipropellant combinations, using Nitrogen Tetroxide as the oxidizer and Mono Methyl Hydrazine as the fuel in a pressure-fed mode.

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Why is ISRO 3D printing engines? 5 advantages

ISRO has employed Laser Powder Bed Fusion technique to redesign the PS4 engine. This has brought significant advantages:

• The number of parts in the engine has been reduced from 14 to a single-piece.

• Additionally, 19 weld joints have been eliminated in the new design.

• This redesign results in considerable savings in raw material usage per engine.

• Specifically, it reduces metal powder usage from 13.7 kg to 565 kg of forgings and sheets in conventional manufacturing processes.

• Moreover, the overall production time has been slashed by 60 per cent due to this redesign.

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‘Made-in-India’ 3D rocket engine

The engine was built by WIPRO 3D, an Indian company that is part of the well-known corporation Wipro. Established in 2012, WIPRO 3D is a leading provider of metal additive manufacturing solutions and services.

The engine was hot tested at ISRO Propulsion Complex, Mahendragiri. It is planned to induct into the regular PSLV programme.

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