The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on Saturday conducted the third big test part of its ambitious development of the Gaganyaan mission to send astronauts into space by launching the liquid-propelled single-stage test vehicle (TV-DI).
The vehicle lifted off from the first launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. ISRO chairman S Somanath declared the mission complete and the objectives achieved.
At present, ISRO is concentrating on its Gaganyaan mission to send humans to the space. The mission is not just time and cost consuming but also involves training humans as per the space conditions. So far, Russia, China and America have sent their scientists to the space.
ISRO will be using its GSLV MKIII, an indigenously developed launch vehicle, in the mission.
The launch of the test vehicle with a crew module and crew escape systems are significant milestones for the overall Gaganyaan programme as this would play a crucial part in ensuring the safety of astronauts.
The test validated the motors that will be used during this mission, which included low-altitude motors, high-altitude motors, and jettisoning motors that will be put to use to safely eject astronauts away from the vehicle in case of an emergency.
The Crew Module System is a habitable space with an earth-like environment in space for the crew. It is of double-walled construction consisting of a pressurized metallic 'inner structure' and an unpressurised 'external structure' with 'thermal protection systems'.
It houses the crew interfaces, life support system, avionics, and deceleration systems. It is also designed for re-entry to ensure the safety of the crew during the descent till touchdown.
The entire test flight sequence was brief as the Test Vehicle Abort Mission (TV-D1) has launched the crew module and crew escape systems at an altitude of 17 km which are expected to make a safe touchdown in the sea, about 10 kms from the eastern coast of Sriharikota. They would be later retrieved by the Navy from the Bay of Bengal.
ISRO had originally scheduled the lift-off at 8 am. But it was later rescheduled to 8:45 am due to poor visibility and weather condition. Then it was rescheduled to 9 am due to technical glitches.
Somanath said, “Even though the automatic launch sequence has been functioning normally, the engineer did not start as expected. We are working on to rectify the glitches.
At last, it lifted off at 10 am after the glitches were sorted.