What's the article about?
- It talks about the ISRO's Gaganyaan Mission.
- GS3: Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology; Awareness in the fields of Space
- On October 21, 2023, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the first uncrewed test flight of its Gaganyaan human spaceflight mission from Sriharikota, designated TV-D1.
- The mission tested the performance of the Crew Escape System (CES) on the crew module of the Gaganyaan mission, which is a safety mechanism that will allow the crew to escape the spacecraft in case of a malfunction.
- The test flight was initially scheduled for 8 a.m. but was postponed to 10 a.m. due to unfavorable weather conditions and an automatic launch sequence issue. The mission was successful, and the data collected will inform future tests.
- Gaganyaan Mission:
- The Gaganyaan mission is India's first human spaceflight program, which aims to demonstrate the country's human spaceflight capability by taking a crewed spacecraft to an altitude of about 400 kilometers above the Earth on a three-day mission.
- The program was first proposed in 2009 at an estimated cost of ₹12,400 crore, and the Union Cabinet granted its approval in December 2018 at ₹9,023 crore, assuming the first flight by 2022.
- However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other commitments, the earliest the first crewed flight can happen is currently 2025.
- TV-D1 Test Flight:
- The TV-D1 test flight was an important step towards the Gaganyaan mission, as it demonstrated the performance of the CES and tested the safety mechanism that will allow the crew to escape the spacecraft in case of a malfunction.
- The mission used a single-stage rocket built for testing, and the crew module was an early depressurized version of the Gaganyaan crew module.
- The CES detached itself with the crew module from the rocket at an altitude of 12 km and climbed up to 17 km. In response to a command, the CES separated from the crew module, leaving the module to reorient itself before dropping over the Bay of Bengal.
- Its descent was slowed first by drogue parachutes and then by the main parachutes. Finally, the module splashed into the Bay a short distance from Sriharikota, where the Indian Navy hauled it out.
- ISRO's Approach:
- ISRO's approach to the Gaganyaan mission involves planning ahead, boosting local manufacturing, testing exhaustively, and launching when ready.
- The organization has many tests planned to develop confidence that it can safely launch humans to orbit, and even the parachutes used for TV-D1 underwent 16 tests.
- Such fastidiousness is non-negotiable, as these checks and balances are expensive but are in place to prevent greater costs later.
- With Gaganyaan, ISRO has indicated how a balance can be struck between meeting deadlines and ensuring safety, and the mission can be undertaken with confidence while also improving local capabilities.
- The TV-D1 test flight was a significant milestone for the Gaganyaan mission, and the data collected will inform future tests. ISRO's approach to the mission involves planning ahead, boosting local manufacturing, testing exhaustively, and launching when ready. The organization's fastidiousness is non-negotiable, as these checks and balances are expensive but are in place to prevent greater costs later. The Gaganyaan mission may miss its deadline, but it can be undertaken with confidence while also improving local capabilities.
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