ISRO Successfully Tests Crew Escape System

Escape tower fires (Credit: ISRO)

SRIHARIKOTA, India (ISRO PR) — ISRO carried out a major technology demonstration today (July 05, 2018), the first in a series of tests to qualify a Crew Escape System, which is a critical technology relevant for human spaceflight. The Crew Escape System is an emergency escape measure designed to quickly pull the crew module along with the astronauts to a safe distance from the launch vehicle in the event of a launch abort. The first test (Pad Abort Test) demonstrated the safe recovery of the crew module in case of any exigency at the launch pad.

After a smooth countdown of 5 hours, the Crew Escape System along with the simulated crew module with a mass of 12.6 tonnes, lifted off at 07.00 AM (IST) at the opening of the launch window from its pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota today. The test was over in 259 seconds, during which the Crew Escape System along with crew module soared skyward, then arced out over the Bay of Bengal and floated back to Earth under its parachutes about 2.9 km from Sriharikota.

Capsule descending under parachute (Credit: ISRO)

The crew module reached an altitude of nearly 2.7 km under the power of its seven specifically designed quick acting solid motors to take away the crew module to a safe distance without exceeding the safe g-levels. Nearly 300 sensors recorded various mission performance parameters during the test flight. Three recovery boats are being exercised to retrieve the module as part of the recovery protocol.

  • Terry Rawnsley

    Great to see that ISRO is planning manned spaceflight.

  • windbourne

    agree.
    Though Kind of weird to think of India as being ahead of ESA.
    We are going to have to invite India to the ISS soon.

  • therealdmt

    Wow, I guess they’re really getting serious

  • Jeff2Space

    The video I saw of this on the Internet showed the parachutes disconnect when the capsule was still in the air. If there had been a crew in there when it hit the water, it would have been a “bad day”. I wouldn’t call this a “completely successful” test.

    Here is a video which shows what I’m talking about:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xp2uqLjowHA

  • Kirk

    Strange. I wonder if that was intentional.

  • Cool. When is first docking at ISS?

  • Robert G. Oler

    Hmmm

  • Jeff2Space

    If it was intentional, I have no idea why. On an actual splashdown with people inside, you don’t release the chutes until *after* splashdown.

  • Palaniappan Rajaram

    @Kirk @Jeff2Space I, too, believe that this was intentional. A possible reason might be to simulate the capsule impacting the water at the speed at which it would return after de orbiting from space, though with potentially larger parachutes.