On Monday, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited announced that it had delivered the largest-ever cryogenic propellant tank (C32 LH2) fabricated by the state-run company to the Indian Space Research Organisation.
Made of an aluminium alloy, the C32 LH2 tank is designed to increase the payload capability of ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III) from 4 tonnes to 6 tonnes, according to a HAL statement.
The main goal of a launch vehicle like the GSLV is to propel a payload upward against the Earth’s gravity through the combustion of the vehicle’s fuel in its rocket engine. The downward thrust created from burning this fuel pushes the internal structure of the launch vehicle in the opposite direction to the exhaust flow.
However, unlike jet engines (that can use atmospheric oxygen), launch vehicles have to carry and burn their own fuel in the form of propellants. The main goal, then, of launch vehicle designers is to increase a launch vehicle’s weight-lifting ability while being mindful of its reliability and cost.