Ahead of manned flight, ISRO plans a December launch: ‘Half-humanoid’ Vyommitra will go to space


By: Express News Service | Bengaluru |

Published: January 23, 2020 5:04:04 am


‘Vyommitra’ to mimic crew exercise in Gaganyaan: ISRO

About 10 seconds after its digicam system captured the picture of Dr S Somnath, director of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, at a sales space at an  worldwide convention on ‘Human Spaceflight and Exploration’ right here on Wednesday, ‘Vyommitra’, a “half-humanoid”, mentioned: “Hello Dr Somnath, director VSSC’’. Introducing itself to the audience, Vyommitra (vyoma-space, mitra-friend) said: “Hello everyone. I am Vyommitra, the prototype of the half-humanoid, made for the first unmanned Gaganyaan mission.”

The synthetic intelligence-based robotic system is being  developed at a robotics lab on the VSSC in Thiruvananthapuram for an unmanned flight of ISRO’s GSLV III rocket in December 2020, which, together with a second unmanned flight in July 2021, will function the take a look at of  ISRO’s preparedness for its maiden manned space mission, Gaganyaan, being focused for 2022 to mark 75 years of India’s independence.

Vyommitra, outfitted with a head, two arms and a torso, is constructed to “mimic crew activity inside the crew module of Gaganyaan”, a scientist from the robotics lab at VSSC mentioned. “It is principally a man-made intelligence-based system. It recognised the face of the VSSC director from the hooked up pc database and transformed textual content to speech to communicate out the id,’’ the scientist mentioned.

Once it’s totally developed, Vyommitra will find a way to use gear on board the spacecraft’s crew module, like security mechanisms and switches, in addition to obtain and act on instructions despatched from floor stations.

Explaining its position, Vyommitra informed the viewers: “I can monitor through module parameters, alert you and perform life support operations. I can perform activities like switch panel operations…” It mentioned it will also be a companion and converse with the astronauts, recognise them and reply to their queries.

“Attaining launch and orbital postures, responding to the atmosphere, producing warnings, changing carbon dioxide canisters, working switches, monitoring of the crew module, receiving voice instructions, responding through speech (bilingual),’’ are amongst its features listed. It will have a human-like face, with lips synchronised for motion to mimic speech.

The robotic system has been developed at the same time as ISRO works to make the GSLV III rocket system appropriate to fly people. “Work is in progress for human-rated GSLV Mk III. It will be prepared for the primary unmanned flight by the year-end with a humanoid,’’ mentioned Somnath.

“There will be a lot of floor testing. The unmanned flight will be the primary take a look at flight. We are designing a crew escape system — whether or not it’s functioning correctly will be examined in flights earlier than the primary unmanned take a look at flight. The unmanned take a look at flight with a humanoid will be the primary human rated flight of the GSLV Mk III,’’ mentioned ISRO chairman Ok Sivan.

“In Gaganyaan, many techniques want to be examined earlier than the flight — the human score of the propulsion modules, crew escape system, air drop assessments… We are focusing on the primary unmanned mission quickly. A significant half of the work will be executed this yr,’’ he mentioned.

With ISRO set to be the primary to try to ship a manned mission to space with out finishing up assessments with animals, the flight with Vyommitra will function a take a look at of the capabilities of the rocket system to take a human to space and again. Among the important thing parameters that will be examined is the efficacy of the crew module the place astronauts will fly, whether or not its atmosphere is conducive for human flight, and the security issue.

“We are actually shifting rockets from mission-critical to safety-critical launch nature, the place the human being comes into play in a rocket — the place human life turns into extra essential,’’ mentioned Somnath.

ISRO has used robotic and autonomous system for a lot of of its missions, together with the latest Chandrayaan-2 mission the place the Vikram lander was functioning in autonomous mode — utilizing information saved in its techniques — whereas making an attempt to make a mushy touchdown on the moon’s floor.

Meanwhile, 4 Indian Air Force pilots have been picked, from a pool of 60 pilots, after a rigorous choice course of in India and Russia, to be the primary astronauts on Gaganyaan. “Astronaut choice has been accomplished from a pool of IAF take a look at pilots and their generic take a look at flight coaching will begin shortly. Thereafter, mission particular coaching will be performed in India utilizing a host of simulators and different amenities,’’ the ISRO chairman mentioned.

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