Making of Green Propellant: Indian Space Research Organisation (Download PDF)

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Scientists at Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have reported progress in development of environment-friendly propellant to power satellites & spacecraft. New propellant is blend based on hydroxyl ammonium nitrate (HAN).

Image of A Greener Alternative

Image of A Greener Alternative

Image of A Greener Alternative

New Propellant for ISRO:

  • New HAN-based monopropellant is already being tested.

  • Monopropellant is chemical propulsion fuel which does not require separate oxidizer.

  • It is used extensively in satellite thrusters for orbital correction & orientation control.

  • In-house formulation consists of HAN, ammonium nitrate, methanol & water.

  • While methanol was added to reduce combustion instability, choice of AN was dictated by its capacity to control burn rate & lower freezing point of propellant.

Need for New Propellant:

  • Hydrazine rocket fuel is being used.

  • It is highly toxic & carcinogenic chemical.

  • Due to its high performance characteristics, hydrazine has dominated space industry as choice of propellant for over 6 decades, despite its environment & health hazards & challenges faced in its manufacturing, storage, ground handling & transportation.

Hydroxylammonium Nitrate

  • HAN is inorganic compound.

  • It is salt derived from hydroxylamine and nitric acid.

  • In its pure form, it is colourless hygroscopic solid.

  • It has potential to be used as rocket propellant either as solution in monopropellants or bipropellants.

Indian Space Research Organisation

  • ISRO is space agency of GoI headquartered in Bangalore.

  • ISRO was established in 1969.

  • Objective of ISRO is to use space technology & its application to various national tasks.

- Published/Last Modified on: October 9, 2018

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