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Accuracy of return unbelievable: B.N. Suresh

T.S. Subramanian

Many new technologies used for first time in this SRE mission


  • It's an exciting and wonderful experience
  • All organisations worked in unison and hit bullseye

    CHENNAI: For B.N. Suresh, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, Monday's splashdown of India's recoverable satellite was "a very exciting and thrilling experience because so many new technologies such as thermal protection system, autonomous navigation system, guidance and control system during the re-entry phase, deceleration and flotation systems were used for the first time in this mission."

    Dr. Suresh said, "the accuracy with which the Space Capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE) returned to the earth was unbelievable because it came down within 15 km downgrade and less than six km laterally."

    The SRE was "a very difficult experiment because there is a hostile atmosphere during the satellite's re-entry into the earth's atmosphere and it was a real challenge to decelerate it" and make it splash down in the Bay of Bengal.

    The VSSC and the ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore, were the lead centres, which built the recoverable satellite. The ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), Bangalore, tracked the satellite. The Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota, did the complete recovery operation.

    Three parachutes

    The Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment, Agra, provided the three parachutes in the SRE. Dr. Suresh said it was a satisfying experience that all these organisations worked in unison and hit the bullseye.

    The SRE had four major hardware elements: an aero thermo structure, a space platform, a deceleration and flotation system and two payloads for conducting experiments in microgravity. The satellite had flight electronics. Its triggering system opened the three parachutes one after another.

    The flight electronics sensed the altitude and deployed the parachutes. The parachutes, pyro-devices, avionics packages, telemetry and tracking systems were all placed inside the satellite.

    K. Narayana, former Director SDSC, Sriharikota, called the recovery of the satellite a wonderful experience because everything was achieved with 100 per cent success.

    A. Subramonian of VSSC was the Project Director, SRE-I. K.N. Shankara is the Director of the ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore. S.K. Shivakumar is the ISTRAC Director. M. Annamalai is the Director of the SDSC, Sriharikota. The recovery was done under the overall supervision of Inspector-General Rajendra Singh, Commander, Coast Guard (east).

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