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India conducts crucial test ahead of first manned space mission

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launched the first of a series of test flights on Saturday in preparation for the ambitious human spaceflight mission – Gaganyaan – scheduled for 2025. - услуги фрилансеров от 500 руб.

The Flight Test Vehicle Abort Mission 1 was scheduled to lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The launch was initially put on hold after the trouble with engine ignition was discovered. 

“Engine ignition has not happened… we need to find out what went wrong. The vehicle is safe, we need to look at what happened… will correct it and schedule launch soon,” ISRO Chairman S. Somanath said. 

The ISRO identified the cause and successfully conducted the test at 10am.

The mission is primarily aimed at testing the efficacy of the crew escape system on the Gaganyaan mission’s crew module, which will allow those aboard to exit the spacecraft if the mission is aborted. 

Test Vehicle mission with this CM [crew module] is a significant milestone for the overall Gaganyaan programme as a near-complete system is integrated for a flight test. 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,” the ISRO said in a statement earlier this month.   

Through the Gaganyaan mission, which will cost the country around 90 billion Indian rupees ($1 billion), India plans to demonstrate its human spaceflight capability by taking a crewed spacecraft to an altitude of 400km above the Earth for four days to a week. It will then splash down in the Indian Ocean.  

For the mission, the ISRO will use the Launch Vehicle Mark-3 rocket which was earlier used for India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission to the Moon. If the Gaganyaan mission is successful, India will become the fourth country after the US, USSR, and China to launch a crewed spacecraft on its own. 

On Tuesday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting to assess the progress of the country’s first human spaceflight. During the meeting, India’s Department of Space presented a comprehensive overview of the mission, including “various technologies developed for the mission, such as human-rated launch vehicles and system qualification.”

The Gaganyaan mission, which is now slated for 2025, has been delayed multiple times, first due to the Covid-19 pandemic and then over safety concerns. 

The Gaganyaan crew, comprising four Indian Air Force personnel, is currently being trained in the southern Indian state of Karnataka after initially undergoing basic training at Russia’s Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City near Moscow, from February 2020 to March 2021.

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