The recent uncrewed developmental flight of ISRO's 'Gaganyaan' human spaceflight mission. It provides insights into the launch process, the purpose of the flight, and the importance of thorough testing and checks.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) conducted the first uncrewed developmental flight of its 'Gaganyaan' human spaceflight mission.
The launch vehicle carried a crew module fit with a crew-escape system (CES) to an altitude of 12 km.
The CES detached itself from the rocket and climbed up to 17 km before separating from the crew module.
The crew module reoriented itself and descended into the Bay of Bengal with the help of drogue parachutes and main parachutes.
The CES also splashed down farther down range.
The flight tested the CES's ability to protect the crew in case of a rocket malfunction and collected data for future tests.
ISRO has many tests planned to develop confidence in safely launching humans to orbit.
The launch was initially postponed due to unfavorable weather and a problem with the automatic launch sequence, but it was successfully rescheduled for 10 a.m.
The Gaganyaan programme was first planned in 2009 with an estimated cost of ₹12,400 crore.
The Union Cabinet approved the programme in December 2018 with a budget of ₹9,023 crore.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other commitments, the first crewed flight is now expected to happen in 2025.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called on ISRO to launch humans to the moon by 2040.
ISRO's Gaganyaan programme shows the importance of planning ahead, boosting local manufacturing, and testing exhaustively before launching.
The deadline for the moon mission may be missed, but the mission can be undertaken with confidence while improving local capabilities.