Gaganyaan Update: ISRO Gearing Up For Mission's 1st Abort Test Of Crew Escape System This Month-End

An ISRO official said the crew escape system (CES) is the most important element in Gaganyaan.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Image source: ISRO website</p></div>
Image source: ISRO website

The Indian Space Research Organisation plans to undertake an inflight abort test of the crew escape system by October-end using a test vehicle developed as part of India's ambitious maiden human spaceflight venture Gaganyaan.

Gaganyaan project envisages demonstration of human spaceflight capability by launching crew of 3 members to an orbit of 400 km for a 3 day mission and bring them back safely to earth, by landing in Indian sea waters.

"Preparations are going on. All vehicle systems have reached Sriharikota (for the launch). The final assembly is progressing. We are getting ready for launch by the end of October," Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) S Unnikrishnan Nair told PTI on Thursday.

"(With) this crew escape system, we will demonstrate (validate) in different conditions like high dynamic pressure and for transonic conditions," Nair added. Thiruvananthapuram-based VSSC is the lead centre of ISRO under the Department of Space.

An ISRO official said the crew escape system (CES) is the most important element in Gaganyaan. According to ISRO officials, this month's launch of the test vehicle TV-D1 would be the first of the four abort missions of the Gaganyaan programme. It would be followed by the second test vehicle TV-D2 mission and the first uncrewed mission of Gaganyaan (LVM3-G1).

The second series of test vehicle missions (TV-D3 & D4) and LVM3-G2 mission with robotic payload is planned next. The crewed mission is planned based on the outcome of the successful test vehicle and the missions in which no crew is on board, they said.

The test vehicle is a single-stage rocket, based on liquid propulsion, developed to validate the CES performance at different critical Mach numbers but Nair said it can be used for many purposes including space tourism.

"We are taking (the test vehicle) to transonic conditions. That means crossing the Mach number of one. We will go to something like Mach number of 1.2. That reaches around 12 km altitude. From there, the escape system will be activated, and that will go some 20 km, and from there the crew module will be released," he explained.

"This vehicle can be used for space tourism, if any industry is interested. Same vehicle can take a crew module to 100 km and then come back. That's possible. If anybody is interested, this vehicle can be used for that," Nair said.

LVM3 rocket - the well proven and reliable heavy lift launcher of ISRO, is identified as the launch vehicle for Gaganyaan mission. It consists of solid stage, liquid stage and cryogenic stage.

All systems in LVM3 launch vehicle are re-configured to meet human rating requirements and christened Human Rated LVM3. HLVM3 will be capable of launching the Orbital Module to an intended Low Earth Orbit of 400 km.

(With PTI inputs)