ISRO’s Incredible Parachute Tests Propel India’s Gaganyaan Mission to New Heights!

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ISRO's Incredible Parachute Tests Propel India's Gaganyaan Mission to New Heights

The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), an integral part of ISRO, has effectively conducted a series of trials related to Drogue Parachute Deployment at the Rail Track Rocket Sled (RTRS) facility situated within the premises of the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory in Chandigarh. This achievement was officially acknowledged through a press release issued by ISRO.

This endeavor was carried out in close collaboration with the Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE), an organization functioning under DRDO.

The central aim of the Gaganyaan mission is to ensure the secure conveyance of astronauts to space and their subsequent safe return. A pivotal aspect of this mission involves the precise deployment of drogue parachutes. These parachutes play a key role in stabilizing the crew module and reducing its velocity to a safe magnitude during the re-entry phase, as highlighted in the press statement.

The drogue parachutes are meticulously packed within pyrotechnic devices referred to as mortars. These devices are ingeniously designed to expel the parachutes into the air upon receiving the appropriate command. The parachutes themselves possess a unique conical ribbon-like structure with a diameter measuring 5.8 meters. They employ a single-stage reefing mechanism that ingeniously minimizes canopy area and mitigates the potential for abrupt opening, thereby ensuring a controlled and seamless descent.

Through a series of three comprehensive tests conducted at the RTRS facility, an array of real-world scenarios was simulated in order to rigorously assess the performance and dependability of the drogue parachutes.

The initial test simulated the highest level of load during reefing, marking a significant milestone as reefing was introduced for the first time in a parachute deployed via mortar mechanism within India.

The subsequent test replicated the conditions of maximum disreefed load, while the third and final test demonstrated the deployment of the drogue parachute under conditions mirroring the maximum angle of attack that the Crew Module experiences during its mission.

These successful tests conducted at the RTRS facility are pivotal in establishing the qualification of the drogue parachutes. Their performance and reliability have been confirmed, signifying their readiness for integration into the upcoming Test Vehicle-D1 mission.

It is noteworthy that earlier in the same year, RTRS tests were also executed for the Pilot and Apex cover separation parachutes. These tests have further underscored the progress made in the development of the parachute system for the Gaganyaan mission.

The intricate parachute sequence designed for the Gaganyaan crew module’s deceleration system involves a total of 10 parachutes. The sequence begins with the deployment of two Apex cover separation parachutes, followed by achieving stabilization through the deployment of two drogue parachutes.

Upon the release of the drogue parachutes, the mission advances into the extraction phase, during which three Pilot chutes are individually responsible for extracting three main parachutes. This crucial step substantially reduces the speed of the Crew Module, ensuring a safe landing as emphasized in the press release.

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