Isro gets CMF key structure to protect astronauts during Gaganyaan

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) has received the crew module fairing (CMF), a critical structure that will protect the crew module-carrying astronauts during the Gaganyaan launch, from a Bengaluru-based company that was commissioned to build it.

The CMF was manufactured by Alpha Tocol Engineering Services, a fully owned subsidiary of Alpha Design Technology Limited (ADTL), in Peenya, while the design and specifications came from Isro. Adani Group holds the majority stake in ADTL. As is with satellites, the fairing is a protective structure that protects the payload — the crew module in case of Gaganyaan — against the impact of dynamic pressure and aerodynamic heating during launch through an atmosphere.

ADTL CMD Col (retd) HS Shankar told TOI: “…While working with Isro is always challenging, completing projects brings satisfaction that is unrivalled. It was the same with this, especially because we did it in such a short period of time and as VSSC director Unnikrishnan Nair said while receiving the CMF, it is one of the most difficult designs to manufacture.”

Among other things, ADTL is working with Isro on satellites (big and small), ground stations including in Bhutan, Andaman & Nicobar, northeast India and on launchers such as PSLV and GSLV. Small satellite platform ToT Further, Alpha is scheduled to sign an agreement for transfer of technology of the small satellite platform — Indian Mini Satellite-1 Bus — on Monday. A satellite bus or spacecraft bus is a model on which satellites or spacecraft are based.

The bus is the infrastructure of the spacecraft that provides locations for payload. As first reported by TOI, Space PSU NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), which is mandated to commercialise Isro technology, issued an interest exploratory note on IMS-1 ToT in mid-March. NSIL CMD Radhakrishnan D in May had said the response was good and at least 10 firms had approached them for the technology.

Shankar said: “We will be among the firms that will receive the technology. It’s affordable when we look at what it might cost to build it from scratch or if a firm were to get it from a foreign agency or company. In any case, no foreign agency would give the whole tech to us.” Both Alpha and NSIL did not immediately reveal the cost of the technology.

While sources in NSIL confirmed that even other firms will get the IMS-1 technology, they did not divulge the names. IMS-1, developed by Isro’s UR Rao Satellite Centre, would enable low-cost access to space by giving a dedicated platform for payloads for earth imaging, ocean and atmospheric studies, microwave remote sensing and space science missions with a quick turnaround time.

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