India’s first Hypervelocity Expansion Tunnel test facility developed by IIT Kanpur

India’s first Hypervelocity Expansion Tunnel test facility developed by IIT Kanpur

n important step has been taken in the country's journey towards self-reliant India with the successful installation and testing of India's first Hypervelocity Expansion Tunnel Test Facility by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK). This is a major achievement that makes India among the handful of countries with this advanced hypersonic testing capability. The development of this facility was supported by the Fund for Improvement of Science and Technology Infrastructure (FIST) of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) with an amount of Rs 4.5 crore in the year 2018.

The facility was developed by the Hypersonic Experimental Aerodynamics Laboratory in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIT Kanpur and is capable of generating flight speeds between 3-10 km/s, simulating hypersonic conditions. It was indigenously designed and developed by naming it S2 and is a valuable test facility for the ongoing missions of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO) including Gaganyaan, RLV and hypersonic cruise missiles. .

The facility comprises of 4 major sections – free piston driver, compression tube, shock/acceleration tube and test section with high vacuum system to generate and maintain hypersonic flow. complete equipmentization of the facility; The vacuum system with pressure sensors and associated instruments/equipment and the test section and associated equipment to acquire and process the data were acquired through the DST-FIST program.

Hypersonic research activities are growing rapidly in India and implementation of the test facility in the country will help more aerospace engineers and researchers to conduct hypersonic research. The research activities and data generated at the facility will also serve as an input for the optimization of existing current vehicles as well as future defense and space missions.

The establishment of such a facility will position India globally for advanced experimental hypersonic research. This is a major capability enhancement for India's space and defense sectors and better positions India to develop advanced hypersonic technologies and systems to rapidly pursue the Hon'ble Prime Minister's dream of a scientifically advanced nation. 

Pavita Jones