In a significant achievement for the Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO, the Gaganyaan TV-D1 test mission has successfully demonstrated the Crew Escape System (CES) on Saturday. Despite an initial glitch, the mission proved to be a resounding success, marking a crucial milestone in India’s journey towards human spaceflight.
The Flight Test Vehicle Abort Mission (TV-D1) launch, initially set for 8 am on October 21, faced a delay because of adverse weather conditions and an issue with the rocket’s ignition identified, causing a temporary hold on the mission. Nonetheless, scientists promptly pinpointed and rectified the anomaly, allowing for a rescheduled launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota two hours later at 10 am.
“TV D1 Test Flight is accomplished. Crew Escape System performed as intended,” ISRO wrote in a post on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
The successful Gaganyaan TV-D1 mission represents a significant stride in India’s space exploration journey, bringing the nation closer to realizing its dream of sending astronauts into space. The crew module successfully landed in the Bay of Bengal, approximately 10 kilometers off the Sriharikota coast. It achieved the programmed velocity and touched down within a little over nine minutes from its liftoff.
India’s first manned mission to space, the Gaganyaan mission, was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Independence Day, 2018 with an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore. The human space flight was scheduled to launch in 2022, when India completed 75 years of independence, but got delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
With this mission, Indian aims to send humans into the Low Earth Orbit for about 400 km for three days and also bring them back safely. The Indian astronauts will now likely undertake their maiden spaceflight by the end of 2024 or early 2025. As part of the Gaganyaan program, two unmanned missions and one manned mission are approved by the Indian government.