ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Center has conducted the Integrated Main Parachute Airdrop Test (IMAT) of its crew module deceleration system for the highly anticipated first Gaganyaan crewed spaceflight program at the Babina Field Fire Range (BFFR) in the Jhansi district of Uttar Pradesh.
The IMAT conducted on Friday marks an important milestone towards realizing the country’s ambitious Gaganyaan project, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said in a statement.
The Gaganyaan deceleration system consists of three main parachutes, in addition to the smaller ACS, pilot and drogue parachutes, to reduce crew module speed to safe levels during landing, the space agency said.
Two of the three main parachutes are enough to land the astronauts on Earth, and the third is superfluous, ISRO said, adding that the IMAT test simulated the case where one of the main parachutes failed to open.
The IMAT test is the first in a series of integrated parachute airdrop tests planned to simulate various failure conditions of the parachute system before it is deemed qualified for use in the first human spaceflight mission.
In this test, a five-ton dummy mass, equal to the mass of the crew module, was raised to an altitude of 2.5 kilometers and dropped using the Indian Air Force’s IL-76 aircraft. Two small pyro-based mortar-deployed pilot parachutes then deployed the main parachutes.
The main parachute sizes were initially limited to a smaller area to reduce the opening shock. After seven seconds, the pyro-based reef line cutters cut the restrictive line, allowing the parachutes to fully inflate.
“The fully inflated main parachutes reduced the speed of the payload to a safe landing speed. The entire sequence lasted approximately 2-3 minutes as the scientists watched with bated breath as the various phases of the deployment sequence unfolded. There was loud cheering and applause as the payload of mass landed gently on the ground and the giant parachutes collapsed,” the statement said.
The design and development of the parachute-based deceleration system is a joint venture between ISRO and the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
“The overall system design, analytical simulations of parachute deployment and crew module descent under various conditions, the design and development of ammunition devices for parachute extraction and ejection, assembly, mechanical and electrical integration of deceleration system, the instrumentation and avionics to conduct these drop tests are conducted at ISRO’s leading research and development center, Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram,” the space agency explained.
Senior ISRO and DRDO scientists and Air Force officers were present when the crucial test was performed.
“Besides proving the caliber of the ISRO and DRDO scientists, the test also demonstrated the active coordination between the country’s major agencies, namely ISRO, DRDO, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army,” ISRO said quoting a senior official. .
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)
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