The first test for the Gaganyaan human space flight mission was completed today hours after halting the planned lift-off due to an ‘anomaly’.
Test Vehicle D1 mission was scheduled for a lift-off from the first launch pad at 8 am which was revised to 8.45 am owing to bad weather. However, just 5 seconds before the single-stage liquid propelled rocket was set to soar into the skies, a “hold” sign flashed on the screens.
ISRO Chief S Somanath, addressing the media from the mission centre, said “Engine ignition has not happened in the nominal course due to an anomaly. We have to find out what went wrong. The vehicle is safe.”
“What has happened is that the ground support computer doing this function has withheld the launch given the anomaly observed,” the ISRO chairman added,
The space agency was immediately able to identify the cause of the anomaly and moved the launch to 10 am, which is when the test was successfully conducted and smiles came back on the faces of the ISRO scientists.
Kudos #ISRO,for successfully accomplishing maiden Test Vehicle Flight TV-D1.
This is the first step in the last leg of journey towards India’s Crewed Human Spacecraft mission #Gaganyaan. In the enabling milieu provided by PM Sh @narendramodi, @ISRO achieving one
— Dr Jitendra Singh (@DrJitendraSingh) October 21, 2023
After the successful launch, Mr Somanath said, “There was a monitoring anomaly in the system. We could identify and rectify it very fast. It took some time to refill the gases and once that was completed, the team went through the proper automatic launch sequence which checked the entire health of the vehicle”
“I am happy our team could understand an anomaly, rectify it, and come back as fast. Congratulations to everybody. It is a big training for everybody here to prepare for the Gaganyaan programme…happy that the launch could happen within the allocated launch window,” the ISRO Chairman said.
The test is the predecessor to the Gaganyaan mission which aims to send humans into space on a low Earth orbit of 400 kms for three days and bring them safely back.
Through this first test, ISRO will gather data on the efficacy of the crew escape system. It will be followed by another test flight carrying a robot to outer space before the final manned mission takes place.
“Before the ultimate manned ‘Gaganyaan’ mission, there will be a test flight next year, which will carry Vyommitra, the female robot astronaut,” Union Minister Jitendra Singh said.
The mission is aimed at developing a human-habitable space capsule that will carry a three-member crew into an orbit of 400 km for three days, before splashing down in the Indian Ocean.
This programme will make India the fourth nation to launch a manned spaceflight mission after the US, Russia, and China.
India’s space programme has grown considerably in size and momentum since it first sent a probe to orbit the Moon in 2008, and it has steadily matched the achievements of established spacefaring powers at a fraction of their cost. In August, India became just the fourth nation to land an unmanned craft on the Moon after Russia, the United States, and China.
India also plans a joint mission with Japan to send another probe to the Moon by 2025 and an orbital mission to Venus within the next two years.