Sriharikota: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Saturday successfully launched a test vehicle with payloads related to the country's ambitious human space flight programme, Gaganyaan.
The successful launch came after hiccups, including a monitoring anomaly, delayed the lift-off of the test vehicle, TV-DI.
Scientists simulated an abort situation for the Crew Escape System (CES) to carry the Crew Module (CM) out of TV-D1, which splashed into the Bay of Bengal with planned precision, setting off jubilation among ISRO scientists at the Mission Control Center.
The CM is where the astronauts are contained in a pressurised earth-like atmospheric condition. For TV-D1, the CM was an unpressurised version, ISRO said.
The Indian Navy recovered the crew module, following “extensive planning, training of Naval divers, formulation of SOPs and joint communication by combined teams of Indian Navy and ISRO”, it said.
Gaganyaan programme's aim is to send humans into space
Gaganyaan programme aims to send humans into space on a Low Earth Orbit of 400 km for three days and bring them safely back to the Earth.
“I am very happy to announce the successful accomplishment of the TV-D1 mission. The purpose of the mission was to demonstrate the crew escape system for the Gaganyaan programme through a test vehicle demonstration in which the vehicle has gone up to a Mach and above, which is the speed of sound and initiated an abort condition for the CES to function,” a beaming ISRO Chairman S Somanath said from the Mission Control Center.
Earlier, weather-related issues first forced a rescheduling of the launch, from the original 8 am to 8.30 am and again 15 minutes later. However, just 4 seconds before the single-stage liquid propelled rocket was set to soar into the skies, a “hold” sign flashed on the screens, with the automatic launch sequence computer detecting a non-conformance.
“This happened due to a monitoring anomaly in the system. So we could identify it very very fast and correct it,” Somnath said.
Once the gases were refilled, the 34.9 metre tall TV-D1 took off.
ISRO Chairman S Somnath commends his team
“I am happy our team could understand an anomaly, rectify it and come back as fast. Congratulations to everybody. It is a big training for everybody here to prepare for the Gaganyaan programme...happy that the launch could happen within the allocated launch window,” Somnath said.
“The CES took the crew module away from the vehicle and subsequent operations of the crew module, the separation of the CES, all the parachutes opening and the touch down at sea at the required velocity has been very well accomplished,” he said.
ISRO will come back with the unmanned Gaganyaan vehicle mission early next year, he said.