The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur has successfully tested India’s first Hypervelocity Expansion Tunnel Test Facility.
The feat puts India in the league of select countries with this advanced hypersonic testing capability.
The facility, named S2, is capable of generating flight speeds between 3-10 km/s, simulating the hypersonic conditions encountered during atmospheric entry of vehicles, asteroid entry, scramjet flights, and ballistic missiles.
This makes it a valuable test facility for ongoing missions of ISRO and DRDO including Gaganyaan, RLV, and hypersonic cruise missiles.
The S2, nicknamed ‘Jigarthanda’, is a 24-meter-long facility located at IIT Kanpur’s Hypersonic Experimental Aerodynamics Laboratory (HEAL) within the Department of Aerospace Engineering.
It was indigenously designed and developed over a period of three years with funding and support from the Aeronautical Research and Development Board (ARDB), the Department of Science and Technology (DST), and IIT Kanpur.
IIT Kanpur Director Prof S Ganesh said S2 will empower India’s space and defence organisations with domestic hypersonic testing capabilities for critical projects and missions.
Prof Mohammed Ibrahim Sugarno, Associate Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Centre for Lasers & Photonics at IIT Kanpur said building S2 was extremely challenging, requiring in-depth knowledge of physics and precision engineering.
“The most crucial and challenging aspect was perfecting the ‘free piston driver’ system, which requires firing a piston at high pressure between…and bringing it to a complete stop or ‘soft landing’ at the end,” he added.