After feat for private sector, ISRO parachute test in ‘milestone’ for Gaganyaan

Updated on Nov 20, 2022 08:27 AM IST

The ISRO conducted a test to ensure a smooth return for astronauts from space.

A 5-ton dummy mass was dropped from 2.5 km.
A 5-ton dummy mass was dropped from 2.5 km.
By, New Delhi

After India’s first privately built rocket was launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday, the space agency carried out another test which, it stressed, “marks a significant milestone toward realising the nation's ambitious Gaganyaan project”. It’s the first project taken up by ISRO to demonstrate the human space flight capability. The Integrated Main Parachute Airdrop Test - or IMAT - that was conducted in Uttar Pradesh's Jhansi on Friday simulates the case when the main parachute fails to open.

How was it done? A 5-ton dummy mass - which was said to be equivalent to the crew module mass - was dropped from 2.5 km using Indian Air Force's IL-76 aircraft. Then, two small pyro-based mortar-deployed pilot parachutes pulled the main parachutes, the space agency described in a statement. This will be useful when the astronauts return from space. "The fully inflated main parachutes reduced the payload speed to a safe landing speed and the payload mass landed softly on the ground in a sequence that lasted about 3 minutes," it further added.

This is the first in a series of tests which have been planned to simulate different failure conditions for the human spaceflight mission. The Parachute based Deceleration system for Crew module is a joint venture between the ISRO and the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). The Gaganyaan project aims to achieve autonomy in access to space, and enhance the capability of cutting edge scientific research in the country through human in loop micro-gravity experiments.

The step forward towards the ambitious project comes as the space agency also celebrated the entry of private players in the sector on Friday with the launch of Vikram-S, developed by Skyroot Aerospace. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had opened the sector to private players in 2020, which the government had hailed as a big reform.

“A historic moment for India as the rocket Vikram-S, developed by Skyroot Aerospace, took off from Sriharikota today! It is an important milestone in the journey of India’s private space industry. Congrats to @isro & @INSPACeIND for enabling this feat”, PM Modi tweeted on Friday.

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