The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully test launched a Supersonic Combustion Ramjet (scramjet) engine on Sunday using atmospheric oxygen. The five-minute test flight was conducted at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota. This engine will be later used for the space agency's reusable launch vehicle (RLV) at hypersonic speed, reported The Times of India.
According to reports, the engine will be used to launch India's weather satellite INSAT-3DR next month. The engine's air-breathing propulsion system technology compresses atmospheric oxygen which acts as an oxidiser for the rocket fuel. This eliminates the requirement to equip the rocket with an oxidiser along with the fuel. This could reduce the weight of the rocket by more than half.
Scramjet speeds can go up to 15 times the speed of sound, according to research.