ISRO has said that it would commence the unmanned flight tests for the Gaganyaan human spaceflight mission with the launch of a test vehicle at 8 am on October 21 from Sriharikota spaceport.
It said that it will be a short-duration mission and the visibility from the Launch View Gallery (LVG) will be limited.
The Gaganyaan project envisages a demonstration of ISRO's human spaceflight capability by launching a human crew to an orbit of 400 km and bringing them safely back to earth by landing in Indian sea waters. The Test Vehicle Development Flight (TV-D1) is aimed at testing the crew module (CM) that will carry Indian astronauts during the human spaceflight late next year.
How and where to watch the test?
“TV-D1 Flight Test: The test is scheduled for October 21, 2023, at 0800 Hrs. IST from the First launchpad at SDSC-SHAR, Sriharikota. It will be a short-duration mission and the visibility from the Launch View Gallery (LVG) will be limited,” ISSO posted on X, formerly Twitter.
The TV-D1 test flight involves launching the unmanned crew module to outer space, bringing it back to earth and recovering it after touchdown in the Bay of Bengal.
“Students and the Public can witness the launch from LVG at SDSC-SHAR, Sriharikota, by registering at https://lvg.shar.gov.in/VSCREGISTRATION/index.jsp Registration will commence on October 17, 2023, at 18:00 Hrs. Latest updates will also be provided in that link,” ISRO added.
What did ISRO chief say on the test?
ISRO Chief S Somanath said, "We are scheduling this launch on 21st October. This is the testing of the crew escape system using a new rocket called a test vehicle. It's a liquid engine-powered rocket. On top of that, we have the crew module and crew escape system..."
Talking about the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier today to assess the progress of Gaganyaan Mission and to outline the future of India’s space exploration endeavours, Somanath said that the Prime Minister spoke about India’s plans for the future.
“PM Modi told us about the plans for the future. He said that we have to launch man on the moon in 2040, there has to be the first human space flight. He also spoke of Indian Space Station. We have to continue the Chandrayaan Mission and Gaganyaan Mission. So, we have to make new rocket. There was a presentation on all of these. It is a matter of joy that he has endorsed all of these,” he said.
ISRO chief details TV-D1 test flight
Somanath on Saturday said that three more test vehicle missions would be launched under the Gaganyaan programme after the TV-D1 test flight on October 21.
"The first test vehicle flight (of the Gaganyaan mission) will be conducted on October 21. After that, we have planned for three more test missions, D2, D3, D4. We will hold thorough tests during the test flight sequence," Somanath said.
According to ISRO, 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 System (CES) with their fast-acting solid motors, along with CM fairing (CMF) and Interface Adapters.
"The Crew Escape System with Crew Module will be separated from the Test Vehicle at an altitude of about 17 km. Subsequently, the abort sequence will be executed autonomously commencing with the separation of the CES and deployment of the series of parachutes, finally culminating in the safe touchdown of CM in the sea, about 10 km from the coast of Sriharikota," ISRO said.
The crew module is where the astronauts will be contained in a pressurised Earth-like atmospheric condition during the Gaganyaan mission.
(With inputs from agencies)