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Two international astronauts survive space scare. How well is India prepared?

Two international astronauts survive space scare. How well is India prepared?

Article:

  1. In the backdrop the recent failure of a Russian rocket launch, the article assesses India’s preparation to launch its human space mission, Gaganyaan

Important Analysis:

Failure of Russian rocket launch:

  1. On October 11 2018, the launch of Russian rocket Soyuz FG failed leading to the abortion of Expedition 57 to the International Space Station. Emergency operation was carried out and the astronauts landed on Earth 400km away from the launch site at the Russian Baikonur cosmodrome.

India’s Gaganyaan:

  1. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is preparing to launch India’s first human space mission-Gaganyaan by 2022
  2. If successful, India would become the fourth country to do so after Russia, the US and China
  3. GSLV Mk III is expected to make 10 flights, including two in the form of an unmanned human space launch vehicle, before it finally launches humans in 2022.

Significance of human-space flight:

  1. It will enable ISRO to achieve higher levels of reliability in launch and satellite technology.
  2. It will further enhance the capability of observing galactic phenomena and the earth.

Safety guidelines for human-space flight:

  1. NASA’s manual on human ratings of space systems underlines the prerequisites for the development of systems for human space flights.
  2. A human-rated system should accommodate human needs, effectively utilize human capabilities, control hazards and manage safety risk associated with human spaceflight.
  3. It should provide the maximum extent practical, the capability to safely recover the crew from hazardous situations.
  4. Further, the amount of heat generated, vibration caused or metallic changes in the payload capsule should be brought to human tolerance level. These factors are not needed to be considered in case of launching a mechanical payload

Steps to be taken:

  1. GSLV Mk III will need a human ratings certification before it can launch a human into space.
  2. The GSLV Mk III is an intelligent system with built-in redundancies, but for a final human rating the redundancies needed are of a higher order.
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