India will test its capsule to send astronauts to space

By the end of 2024, India hopes to send its first three astronauts into space as part of the Gaganyaan mission. The country aims to further mark the history of space exploration after the success of the Chandrayann-3 lunar mission and the launch of the Aditya-L1 solar observatory.

Preparations for the Gaganyaan (meaning “heavenly vehicle” in Sanskrit) began in 2014. The program entered a critical phase with its next test flight. This involved simulating the launch of an empty capsule to test the operation of the rescue tower. This is an ejection device that is triggered to quickly remove the capsule from the rocket if problems occur in the first moments of flight.

Proven device

This emergency device proved effective on October 11, 2018, two minutes after liftoff of the Soyuz MS-10 mission carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Aleksei Ovtchinin. This ejection device allowed the two men to escape unharmed.

We also saw this system on September 12, 2022 during the NS-23 flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket following a booster failure. There were no passengers on board

The test flight is planned for October 21

To test the Crew Escape System, the Indian Space Agency (Isro) will fly a replica of the unpressurized Gaganyaan capsule equipped with all deceleration and recovery systems. The aircraft will be launched on a single-stage rocket designed specifically for this mission. “ This flight will simulate abort conditions during the ascending trajectory corresponding to the Mach 1.2 number encountered during the Gaganyaan mission. CES (Crew Escape Systems, editor’s note) and CM (Crew Module, editor’s note) will be separated from the test vehicle at an altitude of approximately 17 km “, explain Isro.

The TV-D1 (Test Vehicle Abort mission-1) test capsule is equipped with all emergency and deceleration systems. © Isro

The capsule, slowed by its parachute, should fall back into the Bay of Bengal, about 10 km from the coast. Isro has not communicated the date of this test flight, but according to Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Jitendra Singh, quoted by Reuters, October 21 will be the selected date. “ The success of this test flight will pave the way for further qualification tests and unmanned missions, culminating in the first Gaganyaan mission with Indian astronauts. », continued Isro. The Gaganyaan mission is scheduled to last three days in Earth orbit at an altitude of 400 km.

Serena Hoyles

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