ISRO gears up for critical crew rescue test

The Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment which was test-flown by the ISRO two years ago.—PHOTO: THULASI KAKKAT  

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up to conduct a critical ‘crew bailout test’ to see how fast and effectively the crew module of an intended space mission could punch out from the spacecraft safely in the event of an emergency.

The test, known as Pad Abort, will be held at the launch pad of Sriharikota High Altitude Range (SHAR) in a month or two, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) Director K. Sivan told The Hindu in an interaction on the sidelines of the ongoing expo in connection with the World Space Week celebrations at Ernakulathappan ground here.

The test forms part of a gamut of critical technologies being developed by the space agency as it awaits the nod from the government for the ambitious ‘human in space’ programme.

“While the overall aim is to master the technology that aims at rescuing the crew if a launch is aborted at any stage, the present test will try out the scenario of aborting a launch at the pad itself,” he said.

As regards the development of a Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV-TD), he said the first flight of the technology demonstrator vehicle in May saw it climb up to an altitude of 70 km at the rate of two km per second. The aim now would be to scale up to 200 km at a speed of seven km per second.

The ISRO was trying out measures to optimise launches and slash the costs incurred by using cost-effective material for launch vehicle manufacture and bringing about changes in the manufacturing process, besides increasing the capability of the launch vehicle. One such measure would be the use of electric propulsion system on satellites for station-keeping and orbital manoeuvre, which would enable transport of heavier payloads as chemical propellants could be done away with at this stage.

The ISRO, he said, planned to achieve this capability in a couple of years. The stage test of semi-cryogenic engine for the GSLV-Mark III would be flight-tested in December.

On India’s satellite constellation for navigation, known as Navic (Navigation with Indian Constellation), he said all the seven satellites part of the constellation were up and functioning.

Our code of editorial values