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Space


Gagan-Yaan - Human Space Flight Programme

The Government has set time-line for sending manned mission to space. It is proposed to demonstrate human spaceflight before 75th anniversary of Indian Independence (Year 2022). The amount expected to be spent on this mission is within Rs. 10,000 crores. On 29 December 2018 the Union Cabinet approved the Gaganyaan Programme with a demonstration of Indian Human Spaceflight capability to low earth orbit for a mission duration ranging from one orbital period to a maximum of seven days. A human-rated GSLV Mk-lll will be used to carry the orbital module which will have necessary provisions for sustaining a 3-member crew for the duration of the mission. The total fund requirement for the Gaganyaan Programme includes the cost of technology development, flight hardware realization and essential infrastructure elements. Two unmanned flights and one manned flight will be undertaken as part of Gaganyaan Programme.

India will send an Indian man or woman to space on an Indian mission by 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proclaimed 15 August 2018 in his Independence Day address. "India's tricolour will fly in space," PM Modi said as he announced India's first-ever manned space mission. PM Modi was speaking at the Red Fort in New Delhi, delivering the annual prime minister's Independence Day address. An Indian has gone to space. Rakesh Sharma, an Indian Air Force pilot, is the only Indian citizen to have been to space, on a Soviet spacecraft.

Modi said "Our country is undoubtedly progressing fast in its space missions. However, we have a dream; our scientists have a dream. We have resolved that by 2022, when India celebrates 75 years of Independence or maybe even before that, certainly some of our young boys and girls will unfurl the Tricolour in space. With Mangalyaan our scientists have proved their capabilities. I feel proud to announce that very soon as a part of our Manned-Space mission, we shall be sending an Indian into space. This will be done through the pursuit of our esteemed scientists, and we will proudly find ourselves as the fourth such nation to have launched a successful Man Space Mission."

The plans in the "demonstration phase" includes 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. India plans to call its astronauts "Vyomnauts" since "Vyom" in Sanskrit means space. The term for astronaut in Hindi is antariksh yatri, which is space traveler. The word yaan (derived from Yatra) means "vehicle" or "travel". The word "gagan" in Hindi may mean "atmosphere", "firmament", "sky" or "heaven". So "Gagan-yaan" is "heavenly journey" or "celestial vehicle", or "space craft".

Indian Space Research Organisation chairman K Sivan said on 15 August 2018 that the target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to send an Indian to outer space was a “very challenging task”, but an achievable mission. Sivan said, “The prime minister has set a target of 2022. ISRO is always capable of taking up challenges, and we have never failed. So definitely with all the team-work, we will be able to achieve the target.” When asked if it would be possible to achieve the Gaganyaan mission with the given time frame, Sivan said, “Yes, we are not doing this for the first time, and we are also not starting the mission from the scratch. We are already on the job,” adding that several important procedures, like the crew module, crew escape systems, environment control and life support systems, had already been completed.

India has made significant progress during the last four decades in the development of space technology and their applications to common man in the areas of communications, natural resource management, weather forecasting and disaster management. With the undertaking of Chandrayaan-1, deep space and planetary exploration to enhance understanding of moon and its potential to augment energy resources have been initiated in the recent years. Building up large space systems like space stations, servicing and refuelling of satellites in space and material processing are promising greater economic benefit to the nation. These require a large scale involvement of human beings in space for building and maintaining space assets. Space has emerged as the next frontier of human endeavour and manned missions are the logical next step to space research. Therefore, it was considered necessary to initiate the development of Manned Missions during 11th plan period by development of critical technologies.

Building up large space systems like space stations, servicing and refueling of satellites in space and material processing are promising greater economic benefit to the nation. These require a large scale involvement of human beings in space for building and maintaining space assets. Space has emerged as the next frontier of human endeavor and manned missions are the logical next step to space research. Therefore, it was considered necessary to initiate the development of Manned Missions/Human Space Flight Programme during 11th plan period by development of critical technologies. The major objective of the Manned Mission/Human Space Flight programme is to develop a fully autonomous manned space vehicle to carry two crew to 400 km LEO and their safe return to earth.

The objective of Human Space Flight Programme 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. The programme is proposed to be implemented in defined phases. 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.

A study for undertaking human space flight to carry human beings to low earth orbit and ensure their safe return has been made by the department. The department has initiated pre-project activities to study technical and managerial issues related to undertaking manned mission with an aim to build and demonstrate the country’s capability. The programme envisages the development of a fully autonomous orbital vehicle carrying 2 or 3 crew members to about 300 km low earth orbit and their safe return.

India has embarked on its own human spaceflight effort though it had not been fully approved but was initially expected to receive approved during 2009. India had flown a guest cosmonaut scientist Rakesh Sharma within the Soviet Soyuz/Salyut program in 1984. It planned to fly another flight of that nature in 2013 with two Indian astronauts to fly on a Russia Soyuz on an independent flight as part of a experience build up for their own program development.

Although under Government consideration since 2007 it had only now in 2009 begun in earnest to move forward with such a research and development effort well beyond the effort at technology development already carried out. With the State Planning Commission approval of a 1.7 billion Pound multi year Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) program design study and technology development planned to culminate with the launch from India into low earth orbit of an astronaut crew by 2015. It is planned to launch a two human crew on a seven day mission at an orbital altitude of 275-400 kilometers. Flight test of the booster un-crewed spacecraft combination is planned to begin in 2013-2014 first flying on a modified PSLV booster and then the GSLV-Mk-II booster and that will be followed with human crewed flights beginning as early as before the end of 2014 with flights earlier being predicted for the 2015-2016 period.

The three parts multiple (three person capacity) human crewed spacecraft seems to have an uncanny resemblance though somewhat smaller to the design studies for a descent module developed between the Russian, Federal Space Agency (FSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA). Russia is in fact assisting India in designing this new human crewed spacecraft and in astronaut training development. Russian has since independently decided to develop the spacecraft for its newly planned human lunar effort. That effort human spacecraft wise has some serious similarities to the U.S. Constellation program spacecraft design from the best options analysis as embodied in the Orion Crew Exploration spacecraft design. However the Russian manned lunar effort is designed around a different launch vehicle program approach than that proposed by the United States of America. The results to date indicate the Russian effort is based on a lighter crewed spacecraft more dependent on multiple earth orbital assembly launches than single launch effort being considered by the US program with only one manned spacecraft earth orbital rendezvous being considered. Though the Indian effort is on a smaller scale scope it does reflect a design trend seen in several of the Worlds leading space developing countries.

The three metric ton spacecraft concept as presented by the ISRO consists of three sections. The top of the spacecraft consist of a launch escape system designed to race away from the booster in case of launch vehicle failure early in flight. This in turn is attached to the two or three human crewed truncated cone descent module below the launch escape system that has a Service Module (SM) below the crewed descent module. The SM is used for life support, power, instrumentation and propulsion including retro fire to return to earth and reaction control systems (RCS) maneuvering operations in low earth orbit.

It was planned to launch the Indian human spacecraft on the GSLV-Mk-II with its 2.8 meter diameter upper stages design from the Srtharikota High Altitude Range (SHAR) Center on Sriharikota Island in the Bay of Bengal third new launch facility to be constructed. The major objective of the Manned Mission programme was to develop a fully autonomous manned space vehicle to carry two crew to 400 km LEO and safe return to earth after mission duration of few orbits to 2 days extendable up to 7 days, rendezvous and docking capability with space station / orbital platform, emergency mission abort and crew rescue provision during any phase of the mission from lift off to landing and provision for extra vehicular activity. Man rating of the launch by improving safety and reliability, life support systems, rescue and recovery, robotic manipulator, mission management and control and crew training are some of the technology elements to be developed for the Manned mission. An inter-centre study committee is currently addressing some of these aspects. The development of a manned mission would take about 10 to 12 years and it is planned to focus on developing critical technologies required during 11th plan period and achieve substantial progress towards realising a manned mission during 12th plan period [2012-2017].

The Indian human spaceflight programme was a proposal by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to develop and launch the ISRO Orbital Vehicle, which is to carry a two-member crew to Low Earth Orbit by 2016. The spaceship would be launched by India's GSLV-Mk II launcher. A study for undertaking human space flight to carry human beings to low earth orbit and ensure their safe return has been made by the department. The department has initiated pre-project activities to study technical and managerial issues related to undertaking manned mission with an aim to build and demonstrate the country’s capability. The program envisages the development of a fully autonomous orbital vehicle carrying 2 or 3 crew members to about 300 km low earth orbit and their safe return.

ISRO sought funding worth Rs. 12,500 crores from the government for the program. It said once the approval comes, an Indian astronaut can be flown in a low Earth orbit in about seven years from the time the approval comes from the government.

In 2010 ISRO's Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota was set to initiate the process of creating Third Launch Pad for human transportation into space. The first Launch Pad, which became operational in 1971, is being used for PSLV launches. The Second Pad, which is operational since 2005 would facilitate launching of advanced satellites till the next decade.

The first major-milestone activity of this project, “pad abort test” was planned to demonstrate the performance of crew escape system (CES). This test will play a vital role in bringing out the ‘abort maneuvering’ of the CES which has to take the crew module (CM) to an altitude of about 2 km and range of about 2 km from the launch pad. It is planned to conduct this pad abort test at SDSC SHAR.

Drop test of crew module was planned to demonstrate the performance of its deceleration characteristics. The objectives of this pad abort test are: Verify the performance / functioning of various motors / systems of CES; Verify the capability of CES to take CM to the required altitude (~ 2 km) & range (~ 2 km); Demonstrate the deceleration & floatation capability of parachute and Crew Module; and Validate the crew module recovery from sea. Drop test was planned at SDSC SHAR near helipad. In this test, the crew module will be positioned inside an underground pit for readiness to get lifted by a helicopter. Then retrieval net of 15 m diameter will be erected to receive the crew module which will be dropped from various heights on this retrieval net to study the different characteristics of the crew module.

India's proposed Human Space Flight Programme that generated considerable excitement in the second half of the last decade is off the priority list of ISRO, with the mission being ruled out before 2017. The ambitious venture that could have electrified the entire space program and given New Delhi a vantage position as a human space transportation provide does not figure in the Space Department's 12th plan (2012-2017). Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation K Radhakrishnan said "very good progress" had been made in terms of developing critical technologies for the mission (which has been on the drawing board since 2002) but in August 2013 refused to commit a time-frame for the launch.

During the Twelfth Five Year Plan 2012-2017, the thrust of the space program will be on developing critical technologies for the human spaceflight program. The gestation period for Space Projects i.e., Development of Satellites, Launch vehicles and associated ground segments is generally 3 to 5 years, while in some complex projects, it could extend up to 8 – 10 years also. In the course of the development, the Project goes through various phases such as finalisation of configuration and detailed design, engineering & proto models development and qualification testing, fabrication of flight subsystem units and testing, assembly, integration and testing leading to launching into orbit.

The Indian astronaut capsule was unveiled for the very first time in February 2014. This astronaut module would be flown into space for the very first timet in a sub-orbital flight. In its first test flight no crew or any animals are likely to be flown. Only re-entry technologies and flight dynamics will be tested and the capsule will be recovered 400-500 kilometers away from Port Blair in the Bay of Bengal.

The outer skeleton of Indian human space capsule was fabricated by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bangalore and was handed over to ISRO which developed it. On February 13, 2014 HAL handed over the first “Crew Module Structural Assembly” for the “Human Spaceflight Program” to Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram of ISRO in Bangalore. The first Crew Module will be further equipped with systems necessary for crew support, navigation, guidance and control systems by ISRO for experimentation in the forthcoming GSLV-MK3 launch. “HAL takes pride in the India’s space programmes and our Aerospace Division has produced this Crew Module in a record time to meet the requirements of ISRO”, said Dr. R.K. Tyagi, Chairman, HAL.

By April 2014 it was anticipated that the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV- Mark III) would be launched with a crew capsule from Sriharikota in June 2014, signalling that the country was getting ready to send its own astronauts into space. It will be an experimental mission and it will carry no astronauts. This crew capsule was to return to the earth with parachutes. GSLV rocket, with indigenous cryogenic stage, needs two successful flights before it is declared operational.

SRO carried out a major technology demonstration July 05, 2018 the first in a series of tests to qualify a Crew Escape System, which is a critical technology relevant for human spaceflight. The Crew Escape System is an emergency escape measure designed to quickly pull the crew module along with the astronauts to a safe distance from the launch vehicle in the event of a launch abort. The first test (Pad Abort Test) demonstrated the safe recovery of the crew module in case of any exigency at the launch pad.

After a smooth countdown of 5 hours, the Crew Escape System along with the simulated crew module with a mass of 12.6 tonnes, lifted off at 07.00 AM (IST) at the opening of the launch window from its pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota today. The test was over in 259 seconds, during which the Crew Escape System along with crew module soared skyward, then arced out over the Bay of Bengal and floated back to Earth under its parachutes about 2.9 km from Sriharikota.

The crew module reached an altitude of nearly 2.7 km under the power of its seven specifically designed quick acting solid motors to take away the crew module to a safe distance without exceeding the safe g-levels. Nearly 300 sensors recorded various mission performance parameters during the test flight. Three recovery boats are being exercised to retrieve the module as part of the recovery protocol.



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Page last modified: 24-07-2019 19:24:33 ZULU