NationalScience & Technology

Triumph Amidst Challenges: ISRO’s Successful Gaganyaan Test Flight

Milestone Achievement After Initial Glitch Paves the Way for India's Maiden Human Space Mission

The countdown for the launch of ISRO’s Flight Test Vehicle Abort Mission (TV-D1) had entered the final second for lift-off when a stream of smoke was observed at the base of the newly developed rocket.

The Indian Space Research Organisation successfully launched the Flight Test Vehicle Abort Mission (TV-D1) on Saturday to test the crew escape system that will be used for the maiden Indian human space flight Gaganyaan.

The test flight was able to lift off, and the crew escape system separated from the rocket successfully. The landing took place 723 seconds after launch, with a successful splashdown.

The space agency completed the flight test in its second attempt after the first one was aborted a second before launch at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota due to a snag in the rocket’s ignition earlier in the day. The reason for the hold was “identified and corrected,” ISRO announced later.

 The countdown for the launch had entered the final second for lift-off when an unusual stream of smoke was observed at the base of the newly developed TV-D1 rocket. The mission control immediately announced the launch as being put on hold. ISRO chairman S Somanath said, “Engine ignition did not take place. The automated launch sequence started as planned but was not complete. The launch will be scheduled after correcting the anomalies.” 

 The launch on Saturday morning was rescheduled twice due to weather issues. The launch was initially scheduled for 8 a.m., but due to rain, it was pushed to 8:30 a.m. and was eventually scheduled for a countdown for launch at 8:45 a.m. 

ISRO is carrying out the abort mission on a newly developed, low-cost rocket called the Test Vehicle – which is to be used for testing ISRO systems – before carrying out a full-fledged uncrewed test flight into space and back for the crew module on ISRO’s human-rated LVM3 rocket (an upgraded version of its heavy lift GSLV Mk III rocket) in 2024. 

The Flight Test Vehicle Abort Mission 1 (TV-D1) is the first of two abort missions to test crew safety mechanisms for the Gaganyaan mission planned by ISRO.

The new test vehicle has been built by ISRO for the exclusive purpose of testing systems instead of waiting for PSLV and GSLV launches to test designs. The new rocket is expected to help the space agency avoid the high costs of trying the crew module for the human space flight program, which has a budget of around Rs 9,000 crore.

The Test Vehicle is a single-stage liquid rocket developed for this abort mission. The payloads consist of the Crew Module (CM) and Crew Escape Systems (CES) with their fast-acting solid motors, along with CM fairing (CMF) and Interface Adapters,” ISRO said.

As ISRO prepares for its maiden human spaceflight or the Gaganyaan mission, the space agency has put the crew’s safety as the task’s central objective. This has resulted in ISRO convincing the Centre that a 2022 deadline (set by PM Modi on August 15, 2018) would have to be relaxed to ensure a safe and successful mission.

The crew module is at the heart of a human space mission, and it needs to be safe to carry astronauts under very high heat and pressure conditions into space. It requires a reliable escape mechanism in the event of an emergency.

Harsh Shah

Harsh Shah is a dynamic Science and Technology Reporter at IndiaFocus, dedicated to unraveling the fascinating world of innovation and scientific discovery. With a passion for cutting-edge advancements and an… More »

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