By T. S. Shankar
Chennai: A city-based company has achieved a key milestone by fabricating critical hardware for India’s human space flight mission, handing over two crew model structures for testing to the government space agency.
KCP Goup’s Heavy Engineering division, also based in Chennai, had produced the two Integrated Air-Drop Test – Crew Models (IADT-CM), each costing Rs. 1 crore, for the human flight mission, codenamed ‘Gaganyaaan,’ the next critical project in India’s space ambitions after the successful Chandrayaan-III moon landing.
KCP- Group Limited chairman and managing director Dr. V. L. Indira Dutt handed over the IADT-CM structure to the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO’s) Human Space Flight Centre’s Acting Director R. Hutton at a brief ceremony at the company facility.
IADT-CM is the living room for astronauts, in which they would be nestled safely during their rocket-powered take-off into space and stay put during orbit and while returning to Earth after completing their mission.
KCP’s HE division has been associated with several space programmes of ISRO for the last three decades. It has supplied space flight hardware for rocket launches, such as motor casing, nozzle divergent, and inter-stage structures. It has also supplied heavier ground parts for propellant casting and vehicle launching facilities like Mobile Launch Pedestal and 7.0m Dia Vacuum chamber.
KCP has developed the tooling and fixtures, fabricated and realized the first IADT-CM structure through in-house facilities. IADT-CM is about 3.1m in diameter x 2.6m in height and is made up of light Aluminum alloy and 15CDV6 steel.
IADT-CM is a structure built up with more than 100 components by joining together with welding, riveting, and threaded fastening. According to the company, KCP’s HE division is equipped with the required infrastructure and skilled workforce ideally suited for realizing this critical hardware.
Detailing the KCP-HE and its group contribution to the space sector, Indira Dutt said KCP’s management is keen to expand its facilities further to manufacture more significant diameter rocket motor cases and structures for GSLV, ISRO’s next-generation launch vehicle programme. She noted that KCP will expand its facilities from component manufacturing to system integration shortly.
Hutton noted that the IADT-CM structure was for evaluating the parachute and avionics systems of the space flight crew module. The structure would be dropped from an altitude of 3.6 km to 4 km using height by an Indian Air Force helicopter on seawater, and the performance of the systems will be reviewed.