Not a while ago when India launched the Chandrayan, the first indigenous product, it again launched the first experimental flight (GSLV Mk-III X/CARE) of India’s next generation launch vehicle GSLV Mk-III on December 18th 2014 i.e. yesterday morning from Satish Dhawan Space Center SHAR, Sriharikota. It launched its heaviest rocket yet and tested an unmanned crew module in a step towards its manned space mission in twin achievements that gave a big push to its space prowess.
It started with the launch of GSLV Mk-III in the morning at 9:30am IST from the Second Launch Pad. The gaint new satellite launch vehicle with 3.65 tonne unnamed capsule came around 730seconds after the three-tonne rocket on its experimental mission lifted off. Exactly 5.4 minutes after lift-off at 9.30 AM from the Second Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre here, the module separated from the rocket at an altitude of 126 km and re-entered Earth’s atmosphere (about 80 km from sea level).
The 2.7-meter tall cup cake shaped crew module with a diameter of 3.1 meters, weighing more than 3tonnes features aluminum alloy internal structure with composite panels and ablative thermal protection systems, was made to safely drop down into the sea by specially-made parachutes from Agra-based DRDO lab Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment. The experiment also witnessed the largest parachute in action ever made in the country.The main parachute, which helped the crew module touch the waters at around 7 meter/second speed, was 31 meters in diameter.
The LVM3-X flight with active S200 and L110 propulsion stages and a passive C25 stage with dummy engine, carried CARE (Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment) as its payload. Two massive S-200 solid strap-on boosters, each carrying 207 tons of solid propellants, ignited at vehicle lift-off and after functioning normally, separated 153.5 seconds later. L110 liquid stage ignited 120 seconds after lift-off, while S200s were still functioning, and carried forward for the next 204.6 seconds.
CARE separated from the passive C25 cryogenic upper stage of GSLV Mk-III 330.8 seconds after lift-off and began its guided descent for atmospheric re-entry. After the successful re-entry phase, CARE module’s parachutes opened, following which it gently landed over Andaman Sea about 1600 km from Sriharikota, there by successfully concluding the GSLV Mk-III X/CARE mission. With today’s successful GSLV Mk-III X / CARE mission, the vehicle has moved a step closer to its first developmental flight with the functional C25 cryogenic upper stage.
The study by ISRO of the flight validation of the complex atmospheric flight regime of LVM 3 and would also test the ability of the CREW module to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere with thermal resistance, parachute deployment in cluster formation, aero braking system and apex cover separation procedures. This experiment has helped the space agency to test the module for safe return of humans from space, according to ISRO.