Gaganyaan Mission: Three-Hour Maiden Test Flight Set for October 21 at 7 am

Preparations Underway for Gaganyaan Mission’s TV-D1 Test Flight

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up for the Flight Test Vehicle Abort Mission-1 (TV-D1) as part of the preparations for the Gaganyaan Mission. The unmanned flight test is scheduled to take place between 7 am and 9 am on October 21 at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

ISRO recently announced on X (formerly Twitter) that the TV-D1 test flight is set for October 21, 2023, from SDSC-SHAR, Sriharikota. This flight will primarily focus on demonstrating the performance of the Crew Escape System.

The Crew Module (CM) plays a vital role in the Gaganyaan mission as it provides a pressurized earth-like atmosphere for the astronauts. Currently, the CM is in various stages of development. However, for the TV-D1 test, an unpressurized version of the CM has been integrated and tested, and it’s ready to be transported to the launch complex. This unpressurized CM version resembles the size and mass of the actual Gaganyaan CM, housing all the necessary systems for deceleration and recovery. It comes equipped with a complete set of parachutes, recovery aids, actuation systems, and pyros.

The avionics systems in the CM are configured in a dual redundant mode for navigation, sequencing, telemetry, instrumentation, and power. To evaluate the performance of various systems, the CM is extensively instrumented to capture flight data. Once the test flight is complete, the CM will be recovered in the Bay of Bengal with the assistance of a dedicated vessel and a diving team from the Indian Navy.

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The TV-D1 Test Vehicle, developed specifically for this abort mission, is a single-stage liquid rocket. The payloads include the CM and the Crew Escape Systems (CES) with their fast-acting solid motors, along with the CM fairing (CMF) and Interface Adapters. During the test flight, an abort condition corresponding to a Mach number of 1.2 will be simulated, replicating the Gaganyaan mission’s ascent trajectory. At an altitude of around 17 km, the CES will be separated from the Test Vehicle, initiating the autonomous abort sequence. The sequence includes the deployment of a series of parachutes and culminates in the safe touchdown of the CM in the sea, approximately 10 km from the coast of Sriharikota.

ISRO considers the TV-D1 Test Vehicle mission with this CM as a significant milestone for the overall Gaganyaan program. This near-complete system integration for a flight test will pave the way for remaining qualification tests and unmanned missions, ultimately leading to the first Gaganyaan mission with Indian Astronauts.

The primary objective of the Gaganyaan mission is to demonstrate India’s capability to launch three crew members to low earth orbit and safely bring them back to Earth, with potential landing spots in either the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea.

In preparation for the Gaganyaan mission, the four selected astronauts are currently undergoing crew training and Gaganyaan Mission-specific training at the Astronaut Training Facility in Bengaluru.

By successfully conducting the TV-D1 test flight, ISRO will be one step closer to achieving its goal of manned space exploration, cementing India’s position as a prominent player in space exploration and research.

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