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An important development in ISRO’s Air Breathing Propulsion Project (ABPP) occurred on August 28, 2016, which was the successful flight testing of its Scramjet.
This first experimental mission of ISRO’s Scramjet Engine towards the realisation of an Air Breathing Propulsion System was successfully conducted from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota.
After a smooth countdown of 12 hours, the solid rocket booster carrying the Scramjet Engines lifted off at 0600 hrs (6:00 am) IST. The important flight events, namely, burn out of booster rocket stage, ignition of second stage solid rocket, functioning of Scramjet engines for 5 seconds followed by burn out of the second stage took place exactly as planned.
After a flight of about 300 seconds, the vehicle touched down in the Bay of Bengal, approximately 320 km from Sriharikota. The vehicle was successfully tracked during its flight from the ground stations at Sriharikota.
With this flight, critical technologies such as ignition of air breathing engines at supersonic speed, holding the flame at supersonic speed, air intake mechanism and fuel injection systems have been successfully demonstrated. The Scramjet engine designed by ISRO uses Hydrogen as fuel and the Oxygen from the atmospheric air as the oxidiser. The August 28 test was the maiden short duration experimental test of ISRO’s Scramjet engine with a hypersonic flight at Mach 6. ISRO’s Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV), which is an advanced sounding rocket, was the solid rocket booster used for this recent test of Scramjet engines at supersonic conditions. ATV carrying Scramjet engines weighed 3277 kg at lift-off.