Credit: ISRO

India continues to advance its human spaceflight goals.

On January 30, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) officials inaugurated a Human Space Flight Center (HSFC) at ISRO Headquarter campus in Bengaluru.

India space program officials are all thumbs up. Behind them, full scale model of the Gaganyaan crew module.
Credit: ISRO

Dignitaries posed in front of a full scale model of the Gaganyaan crew module during the event.

End-to-end mission planning

According to an ISRO press statement, the HSFC is responsible for implementation of the Gaganyaan Project that involves end-to-end mission planning, development of engineering systems for crew survival in space, crew selection and training and also pursue activities for sustained human space flight missions.

Furthermore, the HSFC will support existing ISRO Centers to implement the first development flight of Gaganyaan crew module.

The Gaganyaan project is to propel India to become the fourth nation able to independently rocket humans into Earth orbit by 2022.

Credit: ISRO

Booster business

ISRO hopes to deploy its biggest rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III), to send three Indians into space from the Sriharikota space port in Andhra Pradesh. GSLV Mk III is a three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle using two solid strap-ons, a core liquid booster, and a cryogenic upper stage.

Earlier outlines of the Gaganyaan initiative called for a “demonstration phase” that involves undertaking two unmanned flights and one human flight using Indian technology to catapult a crew of three into a low Earth orbit for 5-7 days.

Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE).
Credit: ISRO


India has inked agreements with Russia and France for assistance in THE Gaganyaan effort. ISRO plans to call its astronauts “Vyomnauts” since “Vyom” in Sanskrit means space. ISRO has also mastered the art of making a spacesuit to be used by Indian astronauts.

In 2014, India tested a Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE), where a 3,745 kg space capsule – a prototype of the crew module that will be used by the Indian astronauts – was launched into the atmosphere on the first flight of the GSLV Mk III and then safely recovered from the Bay of Bengal. CARE was designed to showcase blunt body re-entry aerothermodynamics and parachute deployment in cluster configuration.

Pad Abort Test.
Credit: ISRO

Pad abort test

Last year, ISRO carried out a crucial Pad Abort Test on July 5, using a 12.6-ton crew module. This escape measure is designed to quickly pull the astronaut-carrying crew module to a safe distance from the launch vehicle in the event of a launch abort.

The test took place at Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota. The crew module reached an altitude of nearly 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) under the power of its seven fast-acting solid rocket motors.

Pad Abort Test capsule parachutes to watery touchdown.
Credit: ISRO

Nearly 300 sensors recorded various mission performance parameters during the test flight.

The test last 259 seconds, during which the Crew Escape System along with crew module soared skyward, racing out over the Bay of Bengal and floated back to Earth under its parachutes about 2 miles ( 2.9 kilometers) from Sriharikota.

Credit: ISRO

Technology testing

In a human spaceflight-related test, back on January 10, 2007, ISRO launched the Space capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE-1).

Launched by a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C7) from Satish Dhawan Space Center (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota, SRE-1 was successfully recovered on January 22, 2007 after being maneuvered to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and descend over the Bay of Bengal.

The SRE – 1 capsule weighed 1,213 pounds (550 kilograms) and demonstrated, among a host of technologies, development of reusable thermal protection system (TPS). The experiment tested lightweight silicon tiles that can protect a spaceship as it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere.










Go to this New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV) video about India’s human spaceflight plans:

Here’s a video of the pad abort test:

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