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When Joe Biden denied India Space Tech, America scuttled India's march into Space

zeenews.india.com
5 min read
fairly difficult
Now American President and then (1992) Senator from Delaware, Joseph R Biden played a crucial role in denying India the Cryogenic engine technology that powers India's GSLV series of heavy-lift rockets.
The GSLV series of rockets are meant to launch payloads between 2 and 4 tons to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), it is the heaviest rocket of this class, which will also launch India's Human Spaceflight mission Gaganyaan.

"This is no minor sale; this is dangerous" he described the then Indo-Russian deal for the Russian 'KVD-1' Cryogenic engines, which are among the best in the world. Back then, America tried every dirty trick to scuttle India's rapidly progressing space programme. It is widely regarded that the Americans did succeed in eventually delaying India's march into Space. Joseph R Biden was among the overt contributors in this act, which India (to its own peril) refused to resist effectively or immediately overcome.

Barely 35 years after having established the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in a ramshackle church-turned-laboratory in Thumba, Thiruvananthapuram, on India's Southern Coast, the country was able to launch its PSLV rocket in 1994. This was a significant feat for a country that had been launching experiments 'sounding rockets' akin to fireworks until the late 1960s, when America landed Man on the Moon.

A large part of the PSLV rocket's success and reliability is owed to its Vikas Engine, which was co-developed by ISRO and French SEP Engineers. It was Princeton-postgraduate ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan (now regarded as the Father of Liquid Propulsion engine technology in India) who led an ISRO team in co-developing the engine (which the French call Viking-3 and India calls Vikas). Notably, this engine powers the PSLV and GSLV rockets, even today.

Buoyed by the success in co-developing the Vikas Engine, India struck a deal, in 1991, with its all-weather ally Russia to procure a handful of KVD-1 engines and the technological know-why, hands-on training for producing the engines within India. Such a deal was India's best and fastest shot at entering the global league of heavy-lift rockets. Valued at Rs 235 crore, this Russian…
Sidharth MP
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