ISRO’s unmanned test flight for its first manned spaceflight mission ‘Gaganyaan’ took off from Sriharikota today, marking the first milestone in India’s ambitious space mission.
This flight abort test was conducted to test the efficiency of the vehicle’s crew escape system, which will be used in case astronauts need to eject in an emergency.
“We are very pleased to announce the success of the mission. The purpose of the mission was to demonstrate the crew escape system. The vehicle traveled slightly above the speed of sound before deploying the crew escape system,” says Indian Space Research Organization S.’ Somanath said from the mission center.
“The escape system removed the crew module from the vehicle and the subsequent operations, including the sea landing, were carried out very well,” he added.
Mr Somanath said the agency is now working to retrieve the crew modules from the sea.
TV D1 test flight completed.
Crew Escape System performed as intended.
— ISRO (@isro) October 21, 2023
Test Vehicle D1’s mission was scheduled to lift off from the first launch pad at 8 a.m., which was revised to 8:45 a.m. But just 5 seconds before launch, the countdown stopped. ISRO identified the cause and successfully completed the test at 10 am.
The test vehicle mission is the precursor to the Gaganyaan program that aims to send humans into space for three days in a low Earth orbit of 400 km and return them safely to Earth.
India will demonstrate its capabilities in human spaceflight in a mission called Gaganyaan, which will be launched in 2024. The country will set up a space station and work on a Venus orbiter and a Mars lander by 2035.