Defence scientists await safe return of space vehicle

Monday, 22 January 2007, 06:00 Hrs
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Agra: Defence scientists at a premier facility here are eagerly awaiting the safe return of a space vehicle that will play a crucial role in the country's first manned moon mission expected eight years hence.

The re-entry and recovery phase is the most crucial part of any manned mission in outer space and the success of this experiment will be a signal from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) that the country has started preparations for its journey to the moon.

India has never before actually tested re-entry and recovery, and will gain first hand knowledge of the various temperature changes and their effect on spacecraft.

"The re-entry phase is the most critical stage for a space vehicle. We are keeping our fingers crossed and praying that everything goes off well," A.K. Saxena, a scientist at the Aerial Delivery Research Development Establishment (ADRDE) here.

The laboratory played a crucial role in developing critical components for the recoverable capsule that is expected to splash into the Bay of Bengal Monday. It was one of four satellites placed into orbit Jan 10 by the PSLV C7 (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle). The other three were communications satellites.

"We have been successful in developing the parachute recovery system, flexible aerodynamic decelerators and a floating gear system that will help in pulling up the vehicle to the surface of the water. With re-entry speeds of six to seven km a second, the capsule will have to withstand extremely high temperatures," Saxena pointed out.

"For all of us here, Monday will be a great day," he added.

An ADRDE team has already left for Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh from where the PSLV lifted off to gather data on the capsule's re-entry, its director, M.L. Sidana, said.
Source: IANS
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