Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Indian Human Spaceflight Program officially disclosed

The Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization officially disclosed the commencement of the Indian Human Spaceflight Program in Bangalore on January 27th, 2010. Dr. Radhakishanan told the reporters that the much awaited approval by the union cabinet was received and that ISRO planned to conduct the first flight in 2016, revised from the previously announced date of 2015.

The Chairman reiterated that ISRO would require 4 years to design the 'orbital vehicle' and another 3 years for testing and unmanned flights. ISRO is in the process of setting up a new astronaut training facility in Bangalore with the help of the Russian Space Agency. The media were also told that ISRO would shortly finalize 2 candidates as astronauts for the 2016 mission. These 2 astronauts would first travel to space aboard a Soyuz in 2013 to get the required experience for the indigenous manned mission 3 years later.

Monday, January 25, 2010

PICTURES: S200, L110 static firing preparation

S200 segment assembly at the new SRB facility at SHAR. Copyright:ISRO

Employee checking the alingnment of S200 on the test bed. Copyright:ISRO

Thrust frame being mated with the head of the motor. Copyright:ISRO

S200on the test bed. Copyright:The Hindu

L110 being readied for February tests. Copyright:The Hindu

Motor test bed. Copyright:ISRO

S200 successfully tested, L110 next

Here is the ISRO press release in full -

Indian Space Research Organisation successfully conducted the static test of its largest solid booster S200 at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota today (January 24, 2010). The successful test of S200 makes it the third largest solid booster in the world, next to the RSRM solid booster of Space Shuttle and P230 solid booster of ARIANE-5. The S200 solid booster will form the strap-on stage for the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) which is currently under advanced stage of development for launching 4 ton class of communication satellites.

S200 solid booster contains 200 tonnes of solid propellant in three segments. The motor measures 22 meter long and 3.2 meter in diameter. The design, development and successful realisation of S200 solid booster were a pure indigenous effort involving Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram and Satish Shawan Space Centre (SDSC) at Sriharikota with the participation of Indian Industries. The S200 solid booster derived its heritage from the solid boosters developed earlier for the ISRO launch vehicle programme. The preparation and casting of S200 solid booster segments were carried out at the newly established Solid Propellant Plant (SPP) at SDSC, Sriharikota. During the test, the S200 booster was fired for 130 seconds and

generated a peak thrust of about 500 tonnes. The performance of the booster was exactly as predicted. Nearly 600 health parameters were monitored during the test and the initial data indicates normal performance.

Todays successful test of S200 is a major milestone in the solid rocket motor programme of ISRO and a vital step in the development of GSLV Mk III.

Here is the S200 brochure

Monday, January 4, 2010

L110 test to follow S200

L110 cluster engines undergoing testing at LPSC

Full-stage testing of the L110 is to follow the ground firing of S200 later this month. The ground-firing of S200 booster is to take place in the third week of January according to the Chairman of ISRO. This will be followed by the test of the L110 engine in the latter half of January or February at the Liquid Propulsion test facility in Mahendragiri. The Chairman retierated that the first launch of GSLV-Mk III would take place next year.

This test will pave the way for certification of the L110 stage. The L110 is India's first cluster engine stage containing a cluster of 2 Vikas engines similar to those used on the basic GSLV. The cluster engine has already been certified in 2007 and this particular test would be a full-stage test. In many ways, it represents another frontier conquered by the Indian space agency.

The L110 stage generates a thrust of around 1400 kN with a burn time of 240 seconds. The entire stage weighs at 119 tonnes with 9 tins being the empty weight. The stage will ignite 113 seconds after lift-off and burning-out at 312 seconds. The stage is also capable of multiple restarts.

The L110 will in the future be replaced by the common liquid core stage (CLC) powered by the Semi-cryogenic engine under development thus making the GSLV Mk-III more capable and providing a platform to test technologies for the UMLV family.