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India's ATV-D01 rocket to use atmospheric oxygen as fuel

ATV-D01 taking of. ISRO photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): India seeks newer horizons in space as it readies to test launch its first air-breathing rocket soon, a step that would make satellite launches cheaper.

In his 'Report to the People', Prime Minister Manmohan Singh noted the successful flight testing of a new rocket designed to test futuristic air-breathing propulsion technology.

"Successful flight testing of new generation high performance sounding rocket (ATV-D01), conducted on 3rd March 2010 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), SHAR, has provided a test bed for demonstration of Air-Breathing propulsion technology," said the report presented by Singh on achievements of the first year of UPA-II government.

The ATV-D01 carried a passive scramjet engine combustor module designed to test air-breathing propulsion technology.

The new rocket will drastically reduce the cost of launch vehicles as scramjet engines use oxygen in the atmosphere to propel the spacecraft unlike conventional rockets that carry both oxygen and chemical fuel on board.

Singh also listed the success of the static tests of next generation satellite launch vehicle GSLV Mark III among achievements of the government in the fields of science and technology.

"The large solid stage motor S-200, which successfully underwent static tests at SDSC on 24th January 2010 is the third largest solid booster in the world. S-200 is used in Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III," it said.

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