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Gaganyaan Mission: ISRO successfully tests propulsion system service module expected to launch in 2024

The Indian Space Research Organization has successfully tested the Gaganyaan Service Module Propulsion System (SMPS) at the ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) in Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu. Test included five liquid apogee motors (LAM) with a thrust of 440 N (Newton) and 16 reaction control system (RCS) thrusters with a thrust of 100 N, the national space agency.

Gaganyaan Mission launch date

The launch was originally planned for December 2020, then December 2021, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The flight plan was finally ready by April 2022 and the launch is expected to take place in 2024, after TV-D1 and TV-D2.

Gaganyaan Mission motto

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The Gaganyaan project envisages demonstrating human spaceflight capability by launching a three-man crew into a 400 km orbit for a 3-day mission and returning safely to Earth by landing in the waters of the Indian Sea.

The Gaganyaan mission envisages demonstrating the capability of humans to fly into space by launching a three-member crew into a 400-km orbit for a three-day mission and returning it safely to Earth by landing in the waters of the Indian Sea, according to ISRO.

The Service Module (SM) at Gaganyaan is a dual-propellant-based regulated propulsion system that meets the orbital module requirements, performs orbital injection, circularization, on-orbit control, de-boost maneuvering and SM-based abort (if applicable) during the ascent phase, the statement said.

The 440 N Thrust LAM engines provide the main thrust during the climb phase of the mission, while the RCS thrusters provide precise attitude correction.

The System Demonstration Model (SDM) hot test simulated the fluid circuit of the service module’s propulsion system, which included the fuel tank supply system, helium pressurization system, nozzles and control components as specified.

ISRO says “The first hot test of the Phase-2 test series demonstrated the integrated performance of the Gaganyaan SMPS”.

The test which lasted 250 seconds, involved the LAM engines firing in continuous mode along with the RCS nozzles following the test profile. As part of the SM SDM Phase 1 test series, ISRO had earlier conducted five hot tests for a total duration of 2,750 seconds. The earlier stage included five 440 N LAM engines and eight 100 N RCS thrusters. For the Phase-2 test series, the current configuration includes a full configuration of five 440 N LAM engines and sixteen 100 N RCS thrusters.

The Gaganyaan SMPS is designed, developed and implemented by ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Center (LPSC).

ISRO says “With the successful completion of this hot test, SMPS advanced in demonstrating its integrated performance in full configuration. Going forward, ISRO has planned five more tests to demonstrate both nominal and off-nominal mission scenarios, strengthening the rigor of testing and commitment to mission success”.

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