ISRO Missions and Discoveries

ISRO successfully conducts test of Scramjet Engine


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Ramjet, Scramjet Engine

Mains level: Not Much


The ISRO successfully conducted test for credible next-generation air-breathing scramjet engines, in order to launch satellites in a predetermined orbit at a low cost.

What is a jet engine?

  • A jet engine is a machine that converts energy-rich, liquid fuel into a powerful pushing force called thrust.
  • The thrust from one or more engines pushes a plane forward, forcing air past its scientifically shaped wings to create an upward force called lift that powers it into the sky.

Ramjet vs. Scramjet Engine

  • Both scramjet and Ramjet are types of jet engines.
  • A ramjet is an air breathing jet engine which is usually associated with supersonic transport.
  • Ramjets can start at supersonic speeds only, so as a result they cannot be started at zero velocity and cannot produce thrust as there is a lack of airspeed.
  • Hence assisted take off flights or rockets are needed to or accelerate it to a supersonic speed from which it starts producing thrust.
  • This makes ramjet engine to be efficient only at supersonic speeds as it can accelerate to speeds of about Mach 6.
  • Ramjet has revolutionized Rocket Propulsion and Missile Technology over the years.

How different is Scramjet?

  • The Scramjet or the Supersonic Combustion Ramjet is a further complex model and is efficient at hypersonic speeds, usually upwards of Mach 6.
  • They do not have any moving parts to compress the air as the air entering is already at high pressure.
  • Scramjets have a very similar working to that of the ramjet except the fact that combustion also takes place at supersonic speed.
  • This means that the air being compressed does not slow down as it enters the combustion chamber.


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