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26 OCTOBER, 2017 (MAINS)


Q1. Recently ISRO has successfully tested its scramjet engine. What is the significance of this technology for India and its space programme? Discuss the persisting challenges in its adoption.


Please write the answer in comments section

  • Osho Korde

    ISRO plans to use the scramjet technology for its Avatar program. ISRO currently uses rocket launch vehicles like the PSLV to deliver satellites into orbit. PSLVs are expendable, meaning that can only be used once, and are designed to carry both fuel and oxidizer with for launch. Scramjets use ambient air to burn fuel, thus saving the need to carry an oxidizer – thus increasing the payload of a craft. ISRO claims that using Avatar for satellite launches will cut down launch costs by half. Since there are no rotating parts in a scramjet, the chances of failure are also measurably reduced.

    =>persisting challeges in its adoption

    Scramjet technology is extremely complicated. One of our professors at
    IIT Kanpur (I think it was Prof. Abhijit Kushari) compared a scramjet
    engine to “holding a burning match in a tornado…hoping that the air
    catches fire”

    -The working of a scramjet is a convoluted combustion problem and the
    oxidizer, fuel mix has to be operated at a meticulous ratio.

    – the biggest hindrance in such engines is their inability to takeoff
    on their own.