The cryogenic engine is 'unique'

Print edition : April 28, 2001

Interview with Alexander I. Dunayev, Chairman, Glavkosmos.

Alexander I. Dunayev, Chairman, Glavkosmos, Russia, who was present at the Mission Control Centre at Sriharikota when the GSLV was launched, told T.S. Subramanian in a brief interview that Russia was prepared to sell India a cryogenic engine that developed a thrust of 10 tonnes. The cryogenic engine used in the GSLV flight developed a thrust of 7.5 tonnes. Glavkosmos is the central administrative organisation founded to develop and use space technology for scientific research and for international cooperation in space, particularly on commercial terms.

Dunayev earlier visited India in October 1988 to attend in the International Astronautical Federation's conference in Bangalore. Excerpts:

Does the cryogenic stage used in the GSLV flight have any special features?

We made a lot of modifications on the cryogenic stage. It was specially made for India. This kind of engine, with this kind of specifications, does not exist anywhere in the world.

You mean an engine with a thrust of 7.5 tonnes.

It is not the thrust alone. Today, we are even ready to suggest to India (that it can buy) a ten-tonne thrust engine (from us). We have already done some work on it. If India wants it we are ready to do (fabricate) the engine. The technology has been developed. The testing has already been done.

We have already supplied four cryogenic stages to India under the contract we signed with it. The mock-up stages were supplied first and then the flight-worthy stages. Three more flight stages are to be supplied.

Why did Russia yield to pressure from the United States on the sale of the cryogenic technology to India? The sale was part of the original contract with India. Was it merely the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)?

The (original) contract involved the transfer of technology. But the MTCR problem was there. So we could not transfer the technology. The halt in sale is connected to the MTCR. But we agreed to give mock-up models and flight stages. We have fully implemented whatever was agreed to in the contract.

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