The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) conducted tests on Thursday on its Crew Escape system. This is part of the human spaceflight programme that ISRO has been working on for a few years now.
According to ISRO, the Crew Escape system is a critical technology for human spaceflights. It allows for an emergency escape, quickly pulling the crew module along with the astronauts to a safe distance from the launch vehicle in the event of a launch abort.
The tests conducted demonstrated a safe recovery of the crew module in case of any exigency at the launch pad, thereby bringing ISRO one step closer to finishing their human spaceflight programme.
There was a five-hour countdown before the system was tested, and according to ISRO that went smoothly as well. The Crew Escape system, along with the simulated crew module having 12.6 tons of mass, took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh.
The test was completed within 259 seconds. During this time, the crew module moved skywards, then arced out over the Bay of Bengal before floating back to Earth and landing approximately three kilometres from the space centre.
Reaching an altitude of almost 2.7km, the crew module used seven quick-acting motors to get a safe distance away from the centre. Three hundred or so sensors were used to record various mission parameters.
The successful re-entry test showed that the crew module could be brought safely back to earth from the orbit without burning in the atmosphere.
Until today, the only countries that have managed to be successful at such space operations are the United States, Russia, and China. With India joining this league, it is set to become one of the major players in space exploration.
ISRO has been working on the human space flight programme for the last several years. The government has sanctioned about Rs. 22 crore to build the required technology.