Nov. 9: Indian space scientists have taken the first steps towards their big leap into outer space. A model of the spacecraft which will ferry two Indians into space has been assembled, and many systems and components that will ensure a glitch-free trip are being made at Isro’s laboratories in Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram.
The scientists plan to roll out models of the orbital vehicle, or crew capsule, in due course and put them through rigorous tests. The one chosen for the journey into space will be fitted with a crew escape system to help the astronauts slip out in case of a snag in the rocket during liftoff, the initial phase of the flight or towards orbit. "We will also add more computers, perhaps four instead of two, to make sure that the mission does not fail because of an error in one or two (computers)," Isro Satellite Centre director T.K. Alex told this newspaper.
Initially, Isro’s Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle will be used to hurl an empty capsule to make sure it can endure the extreme conditions of outer space. Likewise, the crew escape chute too will be tested a couple of times ahead of the actual voyage.
He said the crew capsule will be designed to drift home to a sea landing either in the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea. T.K. Alex said most of the critical systems — environment control and life-support systems for the astronauts as well as flight suits — will be designed in facilities at facilities owned by the space agency.