Gaganyaan Mission Date: Why is first flight test on 21 October so significant?

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what is test mission

The Crew Module (CM) for the Gaganyaan mission is under different stages of development. “An indigenous crew mission will put India at the centre of this race, shaping the already changing geopolitics,” the piece added. However, the COVID pandemic and the complexity of the mission led to delays. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is slated to conduct the Gaganyaan mission’s first flight test on 21 October. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will carry out the first of several test flights on 21 October ahead of the 2025 Gaganyaan mission.

What is a Mission?

A dedicated vessel and diving team of the Indian Navy will then recover it from the sea. The first development flight Test Vehicle (TV-D1) will be launched to test the first crew module (CM) that will carry Indian astronauts during the actual Gaganyaan spaceflight. “The success of this test flight will set the stage for the remaining qualification tests and unmanned missions, leading to the first Gaganyaan mission with Indian astronauts onboard,” ISRO said. The first test vehicle mission of the Gaganyaan human spaceflight project will be conducted on Saturday morning (October 21) between 7 am and 9 am, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced on Monday. Since Dimorphos orbits Didymos at much a slower relative speed than the pair orbits the Sun, the result of DART’s kinetic impact within the binary system can be measured much more easily than a change in the orbit of a single asteroid around the Sun. During the meeting, the Prime Minister outlined the future of India’s space exploration endeavours and urged scientists to work towards interplanetary missions, including a Venus Orbiter Mission and a Mars Lander and also explore the moon in greater detail.

  • DART’s impact will happen in late September or early October next year, when the binary asteroids are at their closest point to Earth, roughly 6.8 million miles away.
  • This flight test vehicle abort mission was conducted to demonstrate the performance of the Crew Escape System as part of the Gaganyaan mission.
  • After a failed attempt to land on the moon in 2019, India in September joined the United States, the Soviet Union and China as only the fourth country to achieve the milestone.
  • The Gaganyaan TV-D1 mission has lifted off successfully, and the crew escape system has separated the crew module from the launch vehicle.
  • After a flight of about a minute, at an altitude of 11.7 km, the Crew Escape System will separate from the Test Vehicle; and after about 90 seconds, the crew module will separate from the escape system.
  • The Crew Escape System will jettison and pull the Crew Module to an altitude of about 17 kilometres.
  • That suggests that any countries’ emergency use of a nuclear-tipped spacecraft to fend off a killer asteroid would amount to a treaty violation.

Named after the Sanskrit word for craft or vehicle to the sky, the Gaganyaan project has been developed at the cost of 90bn rupees ($1bn; £897m). It aims to send the astronauts to an orbit of 400km (248 miles) and bring them back after three days. If it succeeds, India will become only the fourth country to send a human into space after the Soviet Union, the US and China.

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DART will be the world’s first planetary defense test mission, heading for the small moonlet asteroid Dimorphos, which orbits a larger companion asteroid called Didymos, and intentionally crashing into the asteroid to slightly change its orbit. While neither asteroid poses a threat to Earth, DART’s kinetic impact will prove that a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and kinetically impact it. Then, using Earth-based telescopes to measure the effects of the impact on the asteroid system, the mission will enhance modeling and predictive capabilities to help us better prepare for an actual asteroid threat should one ever be discovered.

The launch was delayed by 45 minutes in the morning because of weather conditions. The attempt was again deferred by more than an hour because of an issue with the engine, and the ground computer put the module’s lift-off on hold, said Somanath. Simply put, the objective mission test of the mission was to check the safety of the CES for its capabilities to take the CM to safety in case of an emergency that will require ISRO to abort the mission. Mr. Somanath congratulated scientists after the successful touchdown of the crew escape module.

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In aerospace engineering, the speeds of different objects can be defined as subsonic, transonic, supersonic, and hypersonic. If something’s speed is 1.2 times the speed of sound, it is considered transonic. If Dimorphos’s orbit around Didymos is extended by at least 73 seconds, DART will have successfully performed its mission. But mission managers expect the impact to lengthen the asteroid’s orbit even more, by about 10 and 20 minutes.

The test will provide important data to help better prepare for an asteroid that might pose an impact hazard to Earth, should one ever be discovered. LICIACube, a CubeSat riding with DART provided by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), will be released prior to DART’s impact to capture images of the impact and the resulting cloud of ejected matter. Roughly four years after DART’s impact, ESA’s (European Space Agency) Hera project will conduct detailed surveys of both asteroids, with particular focus on the crater left by DART’s collision and a precise determination of Dimorphos’ mass. The first flight test will be a “short-duration mission” that will examine the crew module, scheduled to house Indian astronauts during the human spaceflight late next year.

ISRO chief S. Somanath said, Gaganyaan’s first Flight Test Vehicle Abort Mission-1 (TV-D was successfully accomplished

According to Isro’s website, the Indian navy would be waiting at a safe distance with a ship and a team of divers who will recover the module and bring it safely back to shore. The system has five types of quick-acting solid motors—Crew Escape System Jettisoning Motor (CJM), High-altitude Escape Motor (HEM), Low-altitude Escape Motor (LEM), Low-altitude Pitch Motor (LPM) and High-altitude Pitch Motor (HPM) with PEDCEM formulation. These motors need to act in a precise and synchronised manner for the test to be carried out successfully. It seems that the launch has been delayed by a further five minutes since ISRO’s last announcement.

what is test mission

“The Crew Escape System with Crew Module will be separated from the Test Vehicle at an altitude of about 17 km. Subsequently, the abort sequence will be executed autonomously commencing with the separation of the CES and deployment of the series of parachutes, finally culminating in the safe touchdown of CM in the sea, about 10 km from the coast of Sriharikota,” ISRO explained. “Various precursor missions are planned for demonstrating the Technology Preparedness Levels before carrying out the actual Human Space Flight mission. These demonstrator missions include Integrated Air Drop Test (IADT), Pad Abort Test (PAT) and Test Vehicle (TV) flights. Safety and reliability of all systems will be proven in unmanned missions preceding manned mission,” the ISRO website states. The Gaganyaan project looks to demonstrate India’s ability to send manned space missions.

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Scientists estimate the kinetic impact will shorten Dimorphos’ orbit around Didymos by several minutes. Researchers will precisely measure that change using telescopes on Earth. Their results will validate and improve scientific computer models critical to predicting the effectiveness of the kinetic impact as a reliable method for asteroid deflection. DART will show that a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and intentionally collide with it – a method of deflection called kinetic impact.

what is test mission

“This flight will simulate the abort condition during the ascent trajectory corresponding to a Mach number of 1.2 encountered in the Gaganyaan mission,” the statement reads. “Subsequently, the abort sequence will be executed autonomously commencing with the separation of CES and deployment of the series of parachutes, finally culminating in the safe touchdown of CM in the sea.” “The success of this test flight will set the stage for the remaining qualification tests and unmanned missions, leading to the first Gaganyaan mission with Indian Astronauts,” ISRO said in a statement released on Oct. 6. Saturday’s planned test had generated a lot of interest in India, although it’s coming a bit late to the party as astronauts from Soviet Union and the US have been making trips to the low Earth orbit since 1961. China became the third country to reach space in October 2003 when a Chinese mission spent 21 hours and orbited Earth 14 times. And the US and China have fully operational space stations in low Earth orbit.

Secondary spacecraft

India’s space agency has carried out the first in a series of tests flights ahead of its planned mission to take astronauts into space in 2025. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week chaired a high-level meeting with the space agency where he gave it two targets—put an Indian space station in orbit by 2035 and take an Indian astronaut to the Moon in 2040. Gaganyaan will be the precursor to all of that by proving that ISRO can indeed send a crewed mission to space.

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