Isro makes strides in pre-project plans

India’s ambitious human space programme might not have been the Centre’s priority while formalising the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2017) but the country’s space agency –– Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) –– is not short on confidence.

Sources in the agency told Deccan Herald that as part of the pre-project activities, drop test of full-scale Crew Module were conducted successfully “to understand the deceleration characteristics and validate the estimated values of ‘G’ level, touchdown velocity and depth of penetration.”

Another source pointed out that the flight suit had been successfully tested in vacuum chamber for leak rate assessment and material compatibility under vacuum conditions, adding that this was a key aspect for the programme.

The objective of the programme, which is proposed to be implemented in defined phases beginning 2017, is to undertake a human spaceflight mission to carry a crew of two to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and return them safely to a predefined destination on earth. Currently, the pre-project activities are progressing with a focus on the development of critical technologies for subsystems such as Crew Module (CM), Environmental control and Life Support System (ECLSS), Crew Escape System, etc.

Sources also said that the mortar-based parachute ejection and deployment tests carried out in single and clustered configuration were a success and the environmental simulation chamber has been realised for testing of ECLSS functional modules and flight suit systems were satisfactory.  Updating autopilot on re-suable vehicle  . Further, considerable progress has been made in the area of the Re-usable Launch Vehicle Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD), critical for such a programme.

The RLV-TD has been configured to act as a flying test bed to evaluate various technologies, namely, hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight and hypersonic flight using air breathing propulsion towards realising a Two-Stage-to-Orbit (TSTO) fully re-usable launch vehicle.

Developments in this regard include updating of autopilot design in RLV-TD ascent phase and technology demonstration vehicle (TDV) descent phase.

The validation and navigation and guidance control (NGC) design, liftoff studies et al have been realised through 6D simulations.

“Guidance and Autopilot designs were modified based on simulation results,” a source said.

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