ISRO successfully completed the static test of a human-rated solid rocket booster (HS200) for the Gaganyaan Programme at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh on May 13, 2022, at 7:20 AM local time.
The HS200 rocket booster is the human-rated version of the well-proven S200 rocket booster of GSLV Mk III satellite launch vehicle, popularly known as LVM3. The successful completion of this test marks a major milestone for the prestigious human space flight mission of ISRO, the Gaganyaan, as the first stage of the launch vehicle is tested for its performance for the full duration.

The event was witnessed by Shri S Somanath, Chairman, ISRO / Secretary, Department of Space and Dr. S Unnikrishnan Nair, Director, VSSC along with other ISRO scientists. Design and development of the HS200 booster were completed at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram and propellant casting was completed at SDSC, Sriharikota.

The S200 motor which is the first stage of the LVM3 launch vehicle intended for launching a 4000 kg class of satellites to Geosynchronous transfer orbit, was configured as a strap-on rocket booster. Based on the successful launch pedigree of this launch vehicle including the Chandrayaan mission, the LVM3 has been identified as the launcher for the Gaganyaan mission.

For the manned space mission, LVM3 launch vehicle underwent improvements stipulated by the requirements of human rating. Accordingly, a host of design improvements that were aimed at increasing the safety and reliability of various systems were implemented in the S200 booster like all other systems. These include additional safety features for motor case joints and robust insulation and ignition systems.

The control system used in this booster employs one of the world’s most powerful electro-mechanical actuators with multiple redundancies and safety features. The system is fully indigenously designed and developed by ISRO in participation with various industries spread across the country. Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, ISRO could complete the entire design, development, realization and testing process within a short span of two years.

The HS200 booster loaded with 203 tons of solid propellant was tested for a duration of 135 seconds. The 20 m long and 3.2 m diameter booster is the world’s second-largest operational booster with solid propellant. During this test, about 700 parameters were monitored and the performance of all the systems was normal. With the successful completion of this test, ISRO marches one more step closer to Gaganyaan Programme.

Out of the three propulsion stages of LVM3, the human-rated versions of the second stage known as L110-G loaded with liquid propellant and the third stage C25-G with cryogenic propellant are in the final phase of qualification including tests with static firing. Gaganyaan programme, the most prestigious scientific endeavour of India is steadily progressing towards its final goal of taking an Indian to space and bringing him safely back.