Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently conducted two successful hot tests on the Gaganyaan Service Module Propulsion System (SMPS) at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), Mahendragiri.
The SMPS was designed and developed by the Liquid Propulsion System Centre (LPSC) in Bengaluru and Valiamala, Thiruvananthapuram.
The tests were part of the Service Module–System Demonstration Model (SM-SDM) Phase 2 test series, marking the second and third hot tests.
The first hot test took place on 19 July. During the tests on 26 July, the thrusters were operated in both continuous and pulse mode, following the mission profile.
The initial hot test conducted by ISRO lasted for 723.6 seconds and focused on demonstrating the injection of the orbital module, as well as the calibration burn of the 100 N thrusters and liquid apogee motor (LAM) engines.
This calibration burn was necessary to identify and isolate any non-operational engines. Fortunately, both the LAM engines and the reaction control system (RCS) thrusters performed as expected.
The latter hot test had a duration of 350 seconds and aimed to showcase the circularisation of the orbital module in order to achieve the final orbit.
During this test, the LAM engines operated continuously, while the RCS thrusters fired in pulse mode.
To ensure the readiness of the propulsion system for the upcoming Gaganyaan mission, three more tests have been scheduled.
These tests will focus on demonstrating de-boosting requirements and off-nominal mission scenarios, further validating and refining the performance of the propulsion system.
The Gaganyaan project aims to showcase India's human spaceflight capability.
The plan involves launching a crew of three members into a 400 km orbit for a three-day mission and safely bringing them back to Earth by landing in the Indian sea waters.
In August, ISRO is set to conduct the first abort test for the Gaganyaan mission.
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