More funds to fuel manned space flight

More funds to fuel manned space flight

More funds to fuel manned space flight

The maiden flight of India’s gen-next heavy duty rocket in May would test a crucial technology, required for the ambitious manned space flight.

The Union Cabinet on Friday approved additional finance for the Rs 2,900 crore programme to make the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mk-III that aims to take a 4,000 kg satellite to the geo-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 36,000 km. The first flight is being planned by May end.

“The experimental flight will carry a payload that will be released at an altitude of 125 km for testing the module’s re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere and the parachute recovery system of the human crew module. We will test if the module can withstand the heat and land safely,” a senior scientist associated with the GSLV project, told Deccan Herald.

Scientists at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre will test several other technologies before Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) finally starts working on its much-awaited human space flight programme in which an Indian astronaut will be sent to space.

The GSLV-Mk-III is much more powerful with a completely new architecture than GSLV-Mk-II, which had a successful flight in January after several failures in the last seven years. “We aim to prove the vehicle’s design efficiency in the first atmospheric flight by May end,” said the scientist.

The first experimental flight called LMV-3X, however, will not have a functional high-thrust cryogenic engine, which is under development. “It will only have a passive cryogenic engine, which will not be ignited in the flight,” he said. The experimental flight will be followed by two development flights (GSLV Mk-lll D1 and D2) with an operational cryogenic stage. They are planned in 2016-17 and in 2017-18.

The GSLV Mk-III project was approved in 2002 with an outlay of Rs 2,498 crore. The launch vehicle involves a major leap in technological complexity as compared to the ongoing Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and GSLV-Mk-II.