ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) will conduct the first of its four abort missions for the Gaganyaan program in May this year, Union Minister of State (MoS) for Science and Technology Dr. Jitendra Singh informed the Lok Sabha. In his written reply in the lower house on Wednesday, the Minister revealed that "the first test vehicle mission, TV-D1, is planned in May 2023, followed by the second test vehicle TV-D2 mission and first uncrewed mission of Gaganyaan (LVM3-G1) in the first quarter of 2024."
"The second series of test vehicle missions (TV-D3 & D4) and LVM3-G2 mission with robotic payload is planned next. The crewed mission is planned by end of 2024 based on the outcome of the successful test vehicle and uncrewed missions," he further revealed. According to the MoS, ISRO has tested its Human-rated Launch Vehicle Systems (HLVM3) and that they are fully qualified for a manned mission.
"All propulsion systems tests for higher margins completed. The Test Vehicle TV-D1 mission for demonstration of crew escape system designed, and stage for first flight realised. The Crew Module structure for TV-D1 mission is delivered. Static tests of all Crew Escape System motors have been completed. Batch testing is in progress," Singh said. Detailing about the cost of the programme, the Minister disclosed that Rs 3,040 crore has been incurred as of October 30, 2022.
The latest announcement comes just two weeks after ISRO received the Simulated Crew Module (SCM) Structure Assembly for demonstration missions. The module, Hyderabad-based Manjira Machine Builders Pvt Ltd, will be used to "validate crew escape system and other subsystems."
(1/4) Today, ISRO received Simulated Crew Module (SCM) Structure Assembly for the Gaganyaan project.— ISRO (@isro) February 24, 2023
This first indigenous SCM is developed by VSSC and realized by Manjira Machine Builders Pvt Ltd., Hyderabad. pic.twitter.com/yV1WkKMz4U
"This unpressurised Crew module simulates the shape, outer mold line and interfaces of major systems like parachute systems & pyros of the Crewed mission configuration," a statement by ISRO read. The Gaganyaan program will see three Indian nationals launch to 400 kilometres in space aboard the LVM3 rocket and splash down after spending three days in space. Running a few years late, the program will be launched only when fully ready since safety of the astronauts is paramount, ISRO chairman S Somanath has said.
(With agency inputs)