Gaganyaan's abort flight test in May: What is its significance
The first of the four test vehicles for India's ambitious space mission, Gaganyaan, will launch in May. The first test vehicle mission, TV-D1, will demonstrate if the crew escape system is ready for its first flight. Following the outcome of TV-D1, the second test vehicle TV-D2, and the first uncrewed mission of Gaganyaan (LVM3-G1) will be planned in the first quarter of 2024.
Why does this story matter?
- Gaganyaan marks India's first crewed mission to space. If everything goes well, India would become the fourth nation, after US, Russia, and China, to achieve such a milestone.
- The government sanctioned Rs. 10,000 crore for the mission in 2018. However, there have been several delays in the mission, the COVID-19 pandemic being one of them.
What is the Gaganyaan mission?
Gaganyaan will send a three-membered crew to an altitude of 400 kilometers in the Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) for three days. The crew will be brought back to Earth with a splashdown in Indian sea waters. It is expected to take off in late 2024. The mission will be launched atop a human-rated LVM3 rocket, as per ISRO.
A total of four test flights will be carried out
There are a total of four test flights: TV-D1, TV-D2, TV-D3, and TV-D4. All of them will test crucial technologies vital for the mission's success. The second series of test vehicle missions will include TV-D3 and D4 and LVM3-G2 missions with robotic payload. The TV-D1 mission, scheduled in May, will test the crew escape system and related processes as well as components.
"Batch testing is in progress"
"All propulsion systems tests for higher margins completed," said Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Science and Technology, in a statement. "The Test Vehicle TV-D1 mission for demonstration of crew escape system designed, and stage for first flight realized. The Crew Module structure for TV-D1 mission is delivered. Static tests of all Crew Escape System motors have been completed. Batch testing is in progress."
ISRO has been conducting key trials for the mission
Recently, ISRO conducted a key trial for the parachute systems that will be used in the mission. The space agency, in collaboration with the Indian Navy, carried out recovery trials of the Crew Module, which will house the astronauts during the mission. The trials were part of the preparation for crew module recovery operations that will be performed in Indian waters.
One of the uncrewed missions will carry a half-humanoid robot
On one of the uncrewed missions, ISRO will send a female-looking robot, Vyommitra, to space. Vyommitra has been designed to resemble a human with facial expressions, speech, and sight capabilities and is a half-humanoid robot, lacking lower limbs. The robot, which can withstand vibrations and shocks during flight, will have the ability to read display panels and can communicate with ISRO ground stations.