April 20, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination

INDIA’s GAGANYAAN MISSION

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TAG: GS 3: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

THE CONTEXT: Prime Minister recently announced the names of four astronauts for India’s inaugural crewed space mission, Gaganyaan.

EXPLANATION:

  • This significant milestone aligns with India’s aspirations to explore human spaceflight.
  • All four, from the Indian Air Force, bring extensive test pilot experience and are currently undergoing training, emphasizing the meticulous preparation for the mission. Their training includes continuous sessions on subsystem simulators, contributing to the crew module design’s development.
  • The Gaganyaan mission comprises an unmanned test flight (Gaganyaan-1) and a subsequent manned mission, aiming to place a three-member crew into a low earth orbit.

Unmanned Test Flight – Gaganyaan-1:

  • It is a mission of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and aims to send humans into space on a Low Earth Orbit of 400 km for 3 days and bring them safely back to the Earth.
  • The initial phase involves Gaganyaan-1, an unmanned test flight scheduled for the end of 2024.
  • This mission aims to assess technology readiness, featuring a crew module without the Environment Control and Life Support System.
  • The focus is on testing safe re-entry and module orientation during splashdown in the sea.
  • Components – Crew module (CM) and the service module (SM), which together will form the orbital module.
    • Crew Module– It is the habitable space with Earth like environment in space for the crew and is designed for re-entry to ensure safety of the crew during descent till touchdown.
    • Service Module– It is an unpressurized structure that will be used for providing necessary support to CM while in orbit.

Launch Vehicle Preparation:

  • India’s LVM3 rocket, known for its reliability, is chosen for the Gaganyaan missions.
  • The rocket’s human rating is ensured through rigorous testing, with the cryogenic engine (CE20) passing final tests on February 14.
  • The Vikas engine and solid booster have also met mission requirements. This emphasizes the critical role of the launch vehicle in the success of the mission.

Crew Module and Escape System:

  • Development of life support systems and emergency escape provisions is integral to human spaceflight.
  • Gaganyaan-1 will involve an unpressurized crew module, while a subsequent unmanned flight will test a pressurized module with a complete life support system.
  • Experimentation with the Crew Escape System, including drogue chute deployment and module uprighting systems, ensures crew safety during emergencies and re-entry.

Ongoing Challenges and Future Steps:

  • ISRO acknowledges the uniqueness of the Gaganyaan mission, requiring continuous adjustments and learning.
  • The evolving nature of the project demands flexibility, with each test contributing to refining the mission’s components.
  • The completion of Gaganyaan-1 will set the stage for subsequent missions, including a manned three-day orbital flight.
  • These missions aim to deepen insights into space technology, enhance diagnostic methods, and contribute to personalized drug development.

Conclusion:

  • India’s Gaganyaan mission represents a monumental leap in space exploration, with meticulous planning, testing, and astronaut training shaping its trajectory. PM Modi’s announcement of astronauts underscores the nation’s commitment to advancing its space capabilities. As Gaganyaan progresses, it is poised to contribute significantly to scientific advancements and inspire the next generation of space enthusiasts.

SOURCE: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-sci-tech/astronauts-gaganyaan-mission-status-9184079/

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