India’s First Hypervelocity Expansion Tunnel Test Facility


India’s first Hypervelocity Expansion Tunnel Test Facility has been successfully pioneered and trialed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.


GS03 (Science and technology)

Key highlights:

  • This achievement puts India amongst a handful of countries with this advanced hypersonic testing capability.
  • Named S2, it was indigenously designed and developed and is a valuable test facility for ongoing missions of ISRO and DRDO including Gaganyaan, RLV and hypersonic cruise missiles.
  • The S2 also nicknamed as ‘Jigarthanda’, is a 24-meter-long facility located at IIT Kanpur’s Hypersonic Experimental Aerodynamics Laboratory (HEAL) within the Department of Aerospace Engineering.
  • The development of the facility was supported by the Fund for Improvement in S&T Infrastructure (FIST) of the Department of Science & Technology (DST) with a sum of Rs 4.5 Crores in 2018.
  • It is capable of generating flight speeds between 3-10 km/s, simulating the hypersonic condition.
  • The implementation of the Hypersonic Test Facility in India will enable more aerospace engineers and researchers to pursue hypersonic research.

Facts for prelims:

  • Hypervelocity: It is a very high velocity, roughly over 3,000 meters per second or Mach 8.8.
    • Example: Most meteors are hypervelocity objects flying at many thousands of miles per hour.
  • Hypersonic: A hypersonic speed is one that exceeds five times the speed of sound, often stated as starting at speeds of Mach 5 and above.