The first test vehicle mission of India’s ambitious maiden human spaceflight venture Gaganyaan to validate the crew escape system will be launched in a month or two, a key ISRO official said on Friday.
According to officials of the Bengaluru-headquartered national space agency, it would be the first of the four abort missions of the Gaganyaan programme.
The first test vehicle mission, TV-D1, would be followed by the second test vehicle mission, TV-D2, and the first uncrewed mission of Gaganyaan (LVM3-G1).
The second series of test vehicle missions (TV-D3 and D4) and the LVM3-G2 mission with a robotic payload are planned next. The crewed mission is planned based on the outcome of the successful test vehicle and uncrewed missions, they said.
“Immediately, what we are now targeting is to validate the crew escape system. In a month or two, the mission will take place from Sriharikota,” Gaganyaan Project Director R Hutton said at an international space conference here.
According to ISRO officials, the Gaganyaan project is aimed at demonstrating India’s capability of taking a crew of two to three members to a circular orbit of about 400 km around the Earth for a one-to-three-day mission and bringing them back safely to Earth by landing in a designated location in Indian sea waters.
The LVM3 rocket, the heavy-lift launcher of ISRO, is identified as the launch vehicle for the Gaganyaan mission. It consists of a solid stage, a liquid stage, and a cryogenic stage. All systems in LVM3 are re-configured to meet human rating requirements and are christened Human Rated LVM3 (HLVM3).
“I am glad to say that the LVM3 has been human-rated. When we say human-rated, it should have adequate safety margins,” Hutton told the conference, which was organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry.
HLVM3 consists of a Crew Escape System (CES) powered by a set of quick-acting, high-burn-rate solid motors that ensure that the Crew Module (CM) and crew are taken to a safe distance in case of any emergency either at the launch pad or during the ascent phase.
The Orbital Module (OM) that will be orbiting Earth comprises the Crew Module and the Service Module (SM). OM is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics systems with adequate redundancy considering human safety.
The Crew Module is a habitable space with an Earth-like environment for the crew. It is of double-walled construction, consisting of a pressurized metallic inner structure and an unpressurized external structure with a thermal protection system.
It houses the crew interfaces, human-centric products, life support systems, avionics, and deceleration systems. It is also designed for re-entry to ensure the safety of the crew during descent and touchdown.
Service Module will be used to provide necessary support to Crew Module while in orbit. It is an unpressurized structure containing a thermal system, a propulsion system, power systems, avionics systems, and deployment mechanisms.
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