SRIHARIKOTA : Inching closer to a manned mission, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will soon be conducting a ‘Pad Abort Test’, which is a launch escape system to find out how well the system would get the crew of a spacecraft to safety in an emergency on the launch pad. The test is likely by this year end.
Speaking to the Express on the sidelines after a successful launch of PSLV C-35, the ISRO chairman AS Kiran Kumar said, before the Union Government gave its approval for a manned mission, the national space agency wanted to develop some critical technologies that would support sending astronauts to space.
As part of this process, the pad abort test will be done. “The technology is in its final stages of development. Depending on our work schedule, we will plan the technology demonstrator. What we are planning to do is place a crew module in one of stages of a rocket and retrofire it to bring it back safely. The landing will be either on land or sea,” Kiran Kumar said.
This apart, a private firm in Baroda has designed and developed space suits for Indian astronauts that were tested and verified. The ISRO chairman said another critical technology “environmental controlled chamber” was in the development stage. This was primarily to control the toxic gases for astronauts to survive.
The ISRO had already conducted an unmanned Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) in December 2014, where CARE was separated from the upper stage of GSLV Mk-III, re-entered the atmosphere and safely landed on the Bay of Bengal using its parachutes about 20 minutes 43 seconds after lift-off.
Only last year, the US-based SpaceX successfully completed the Pad Abort Test to prepare Crew Dragon spacecraft for its first human mission slated for 2017.
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