Boeing in talks to work with ISRO on moon mission

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, a cooperative venture between NASA and Boeing. File photo

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, a cooperative venture between NASA and Boeing. File photo   | Photo Credit: REED SAXON

It has applied for federal clearance to enter into a Technical Assistance Agreement

Seeking to expand cooperation with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on its moon mission, the United States is offering assistance through Boeing, which partners with the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) on its space exploration programme.

Having worked with NASA on the Chandryaan mission, the ISRO is in talks with Boeing, which has a commercial crew development contract with NASA, as a key teammate to initiate the design and development architecture of a commercial transport to and from the International Space Station.

“We are having an initial conversation with ISRO and attempting to set up a more formal arrangement as to how we can work together in space,'' Sam Gunderson, Senior Manager of Boeing Business Development, told a group of correspondents from India here.

The company's representatives, Roger Krone and Jeff Trauberman, met ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan and Antrix Corporation managing director K.R. Sridhara Murthi in February, Mr. Gunderson said. Mr. Murthi was identified as the point of contact for follow-up work.

On his part, Mr. Krone told TheHindu that Boeing had applied for federal clearance to facilitate its entry into a Technical Assistance Agreement with ISRO. The application was made last month and it took a minimum of 90 days for getting the go-ahead signal, he said.

On commercial crew transportation, the Boeing says it has the expertise to offer the Launch Escape System (LES), Vehicle Health Monitoring System and Abort Triggers (VHMSAT), Life Support System, Crew Accommodations and other areas such as reusable space systems and composite cryogenic tanks.

Although it has had the LES, aimed at providing a means for the crew to escape unharmed from a catastrophic failure during ascent, since the maiden Apollo-11 mission, it has been upgraded. The Pad Abort –1 test was carried out successfully on May 6.

The five-stage launch abort system has an adaptor cone attached to the crew module, followed by an abort motor, jettison motor, forward interstage, attitude control motor (ACM) and the nose cone. The ACM steers the launch abort system and the crew module away from the launch vehicle and then orients the crew module for parachute deployment.

The crew module takes about 90 seconds to touch down from the time when the abort execute command is issued.

In the run-up to the launch, the VHMSAT is designed to constantly monitor the system and command the escape system in case a failure is detected while the Life Support System removes the carbon dioxide and controls humidity.

With India showing more interest in reusable space systems, Boeing is putting that on offer, while the crew accommodation includes seats, pressure suits and other control systems.

In August last, ISRO invited Boeing to a technology conference on robotic space mission. India carried NASA and other international sensors on the Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter and partners with Russia in the development of Chandrayaan-II, planned for launch in the 2013-15 time frame.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 1:47:51 PM |

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