The human-rated launch vehicle that will carry Indian astronauts to space and back as part of the human spaceflight mission — Gaganyaan — is “practically” ready and work on other key technologies is making progress. Isro has been human-rating (making the systems reliable to carry humans) the GSLV-Mk3 or the LVM3 as the agency now calls it, for the Gaganyaan mission.
R Umamaheshwaran, director, Isro Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC), said on Saturday: “Human-rated LVM3 is all complete. Launch vehicle is practically ready now.” Speaking at the one-day symposium on ‘Space Biology and Biotechnology’ organised by IISc, he said the rocket’s successful use of the spent cryogenic upper stage (CUS), for the first time, to carry out manouvres has further added to the reliability of LVM3. Aloke Kumar, associate professor at IISc and the chair of the conference said: “Indian science and technology community has been enthused by Gaganyaan, which necessitates a strong enmeshing of Indian academia with mission-oriented R&D and the global community and this first-of-its-kind conference will help bring experts and ideas together.”
The one-day symposium brought in international, national, and industry experts to discuss challenges related to the topic. It featured several talks by experts on problems related to human space flight and biological issues and challenges.
“We have the crew module technology. There’s no technical work pending, only the physical time to manufacture all the systems is long. Fabrication work is going on. These are complex systems and we need to have reliability and quality that is one order better given that there are humans involved,” Umamaheshwaran added. He reiterated that a series of demonstration missions will be carried out beginning early next year.
Among them would be the first few abort missions using the special test vehicle Isro has developed, as TOI has reported earlier. “Overall we have four test vehicles that will demonstrate various abort systems. The complexity is to detect impending disasters. The entire crew module and CES (crew escape system) should act swiftly,” said. Stressing on the importance of the parachute systems, he said, they need to be demonstrated flawlessly before being used. To achieve this Isro is planning 15-16 IAD (integrated air-drop) tests using helicopters.