ISRO pads up to make India's manned mission into space a reality

India is yet to lead a manned mission into space and it seems that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up to make it happen. On Thursday, 5 July 2018, the Indian space agency successfully executed their Crew Escape System as a part of the their Indian Human Spaceflight Programme (HSP).

What is it?

The Crew Escape System is what comes before actual human flight and the launch pads that facilitate reaching outer space.

It’s an integral safety measure put in place as an emergency escape option. Basically, it pulls the whole astronaut cabin out of the launch vehicle in case something goes wrong while taking off.

More than just an eject button, the aim is to also ensure that the crew can get a safe distance away.

This particular pad abort test (PAT) was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on the island of Sriharikota off the coast of Andhra Pradesh.

Why is it important?

This test was the first in a series that ISRO has planned. These PATs will determine the quality of the system and hence, serve as a benchmark for the feasibility of a human mission.

The success of this test, which lasted a little over three minutes, signifies that at least one requirement for a manned space mission has been fulfilled.

What’s next?

After the PAT, the next step for ISRO will be aborting the capsule at flight mode. The application of aborts in space allows astronauts to turn around and return home if mission threatening failures occur.

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