August 11, 2023
In a significant stride towards its ambitious Gaganyaan mission, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has achieved a breakthrough by successfully conducting a series of tests on drogue parachutes. These parachutes are expected to play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of astronauts during re-entry in the much-anticipated Gaganyaan human space flight mission.
The recent tests were carried out at the Rail Track Rocket Sled (RTRS) facility of the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory in Chandigarh from August 8 to 10. The trials, which meticulously simulated real-world scenarios, showcased the performance and reliability of the drogue parachutes. This achievement marks a critical qualification milestone, affirming their readiness for integration into the upcoming Test Vehicle-D1 mission.
ISRO’s Thiruvananthapuram-based Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) spearheaded the Drogue Parachute Deployment Tests in collaboration with the Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE) of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The ingenious design of the drogue parachutes incorporates pyro-based devices called mortars. Which expel the parachutes into the air upon command. These conical ribbon-type parachutes, boasting an impressive diameter of 5.8 metres, employ an innovative single-stage reefing mechanism. This mechanism reduces the canopy area and mitigates opening shock, ensuring a controlled and smooth descent of the crew module.
Series of test conducted
During the testing phase, a series of scenarios were meticulously recreated. The first test simulated the maximum reefed load. By achieving a ground breaking feat of introducing reefing in a mortar-deployed parachute within India.
The second test imitated the maximum dis-reefed load.
Next The third test illustrated the drogue parachute’s deployment under conditions that mirrored the maximum angle of attack experienced by the crew module during its mission.
Earlier this year, the RTRS tests for Pilot and Apex cover separation parachutes were also successfully conducted, underscoring the substantial progress in the development of the Gaganyaan mission’s parachute system.
Notably, the intricate parachute sequence for the Gaganyaan crew module’s deceleration system. It encompasses a total of 10 parachutes, showcasing ISRO’s meticulous attention to safety and precision.
The Gaganyaan mission, a bold endeavor by ISRO, aims to safely transport astronauts to space and back, marking a significant milestone in India’s space exploration journey.
The nation eagerly anticipates this historic mission. ISRO’s recent success in the drogue parachute tests marks a substantial step forward. As it reinforces India’s position in the global space exploration arena.