Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully tested a capsule that will carry Indian astronaut to space in future. This is the first major step towards the success of country’s first human space flight program. The first test called Pad Abort Test demonstrates the safe recovery of the crew module in case of any exigency at the launch pad.
ISRO says the ‘Crew Escape System’ is an emergency escape measure designed to quickly pull the crew module along with the astronauts to a safe distance from the launch vehicle in the event of a launch abort. The technology demonstration on Thursday is the first in a series of tests to qualify a Crew Escape System. The test was carried out at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota after a countdown of 5 hours. The Crew Escape System along with the simulated crew module having a mass of 12.6 tonnes lifted off at 7AM at the opening of the launch window.
During the test, the Crew Escape System along with the crew module soared skyward and then arced over the Bay of Bengal before floating back to Earth with the help of parachutes about 2.9km from Sriharikota. The test was over in 259 seconds and the crew module reached an altitude of nearly 2.7km under the power of seven specifically designed solid motors, ISRO said in a released statement.
The space agency used nearly 300 sensors to record the various mission performance parameters during the test flight. The goal being to take away the crew module to a safe distance without exceeding the safe g-levels. As part of the recovery protocol, ISRO deployed three recovery boats to retrieve the module.
“Our next test will focus on aborting the capsule at flight mode. Like today’s test, many components needed for the country’s first manned mission will be tested in near future,” Isro chairman K Sivan told TOI.
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Till now, only Russia, US and China have been able to send humans to space. Since its inception in 1962, ISRO has been actively engaged in launching satellites that fulfill country’s requirements and not in human space program. The space agency first endorsed a proposal for the indigenous human space flight program in 2006 and Sivan adds that ISRO will prepare a project report based on yesterday’s successful test and submit the same to government for approval.