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Gaganyaan TV-D1 test launch successful after initial technical issues

The third major test of the Gaganyaan Mission, which aims to launch Indian astronauts into space by 2025, was successfully carried out by ISRO

Edited By: Om Gupta

Published: Oct 21, 2023, 10:56 AM IST


Story Highlights

  • ISRO successfully launched the first major set of tests for Gaganyaan on Saturday.
  • The mission is called Flight Test Vehicle Abort Mission-1 (TV-D1).
  • ISRO is expected to launch Gaganyaan sometime in 2025.

The Gaganyaan Mission, India’s ambitious project to send humans to space, achieved a major milestone on Saturday. ISRO successfully tested the Crew Escape System, a vital safety feature that can save the lives of the astronauts in case of an emergency during the launch. The test involved launching a single-stage rocket called Test Vehicle (TV-D1) from Sriharikota, carrying the Crew Escape System and a dummy crew module. The Crew Escape System activated at a certain altitude and speed, separating from the rocket and ejecting the crew module away from it. The crew module then landed safely in the sea with the help of parachutes.

The launch was postponed due to an anomaly, but it was resolved, and the lift-off occurred at 10AM. The test validated the performance of various motors and systems that are part of the Crew Escape System. ISRO said that the mission objectives were achieved and that the data collected from the test will help improve the design of the system.

The flight sequence of the TV-D1 rocket began with its launch, followed by the activation of the fin-enabling system after six seconds. The vehicle triggered the Crew Escape System Pillbox at an altitude of 11.8 km and a speed of Mach 1.25. The High Energy Motor (HEM) then blasted, sending the vehicle higher into the air. The Crew Escape System broke away from the rocket booster at a speed of Mach 1.21 and an altitude of 11.9 km, about a minute after the launch. The Crew Module split from the Crew Escape System at a speed of 550 km/h and an altitude of 16.9 km. The drogue parachute then deployed, lowering the vehicle’s speed.

The Crew Escape System is similar to the abort and ejection systems used by NASA and SpaceX for their crewed missions. It is designed to detect any anomaly or failure in the launch vehicle and quickly pull away the crew module to a safe distance.

This was the third major test for the Gaganyaan Mission, after testing the LVM-3 rocket and conducting a pad abort test in 2018. ISRO plans to send three Indian astronauts to space by 2025 and to the Moon by 2040. The test flight was a significant step towards achieving this goal.

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Author Name | Om Gupta


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