The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on July 5, 2018 conducted successful flight testing of ‘Crew Escape System’.
The major technology demonstration is the first in a series of ‘pad abort’ tests to qualify the system, which is a critical technology relevant for future human space mission.
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.
• ISRO tested the crew escape system for its new crew capsule in an emergency pad abort test (PAT).
• The Crew Escape System along with the simulated crew module with a mass of 12.6 tonnes, lifted off from its launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, following a smooth countdown of 5 hours.
• The test, which lasted for around 259 seconds, a little over 3 minutes, involved aborting the crew module at launch to save the astronauts.
• During the test, the Crew Escape System along with the crew module soared upward towards the sky and 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.
• Further, three recovery boats were exercised to retrieve the module as a part of the recovery protocol.
• The crew escape system is being developed by ISRO as a part of its proposed Human Spaceflight Programme.
• The Indian Human Spaceflight Programme (HSP) is a proposal to ISRO to develop and launch the ISRO Orbital Vehicle, which would carry a two-member crew to the Low Earth Orbit.
• The programme envisages the development of a fully autonomous orbital vehicle carrying two crew members to about 300 km low earth orbit and their safe return.
• The spaceship would be launched by the GSLV MkIII launcher.
• Pre-project activities have been initiated to study and develop critical technologies for the mission.