AKA: Orbital Vehicle 2015. Status: Design 2014. First Launch: 2014-12-18. Last Launch: 2014-12-18. Number: 1 . Gross mass: 7,800 kg (17,100 lb). Height: 5.80 m (19.00 ft). Diameter: 3.10 m (10.10 ft).
Development of the Orbital Vehicle began in 2006. The original plan was for a two-crew conical Gemini-type spacecraft with an endurance of a week in space. The full-scale design was finalized by March 2008, and funded from February 2009. A mock-up was delivered in 2009. First manned flight was to be in 2013, then 2016. The project suffered from low funding, and by 2014, despite a suborbital test of a capsule boilerplate, no date was announced for the first full-up unmanned or manned flight. Availability of funding would determine whether that could occur before 2000 or if the project would be abandoned.
As of 2015 the design utilized a Soyuz-shaped reentry capsule with a mass of 3735 kg, a diameter of 3.100 m and height of 2.678 m. The ablative reentry shield consisted of carbon phenolic tiles, with tan medium density ablative tiles covering the rest of the outer surface. After re-entry, at a velocity of 233 m/s, a pair of 2.3 meter diameter pilot parachutes stabilized the capsule. This was followed by a pair of 6.2 m diameter drogue parachutes, which reduced the velocity to 50 m/s. At 5 km altitude three 31-m diameter main parachutes deployed. The capsule was designed to splash down in the ocean followed by recovery by Indian naval vessels. The reaction control system consisted of six 100-N thrusters burning MMH / MON3 storable propellants. The capsule was designed to initially accomodate two astronauts on long-duration solo missions. The design allowed later modification to carry three on short-duration shuttle missions to an orbiting space station.
In comparison with the Soyuz and Shenzhou capsules, the Indian version is significantly larger and heavier:
Re-entry Vehicle Total Mass-kg 3,000 3,240 3,735 Length-m 1.90 2.06 2.68 Diameter-m 2.17 2.52 3.10 Volume compared to Soyuz 1.00 1.46 2.88
The service module, based on a 2013 ISRO drawing, is powered by two high-expansion-ratio liquid propellant engines. Based on the payload capability of the GSLV-III booster, it would have a mass of around 3000 kg. A launch escape system. using a tower approach like that on Soyuz, Shenzhou, and Apollo, was planned. In-cabin space suits would be based on the Russian Sokol suit.
Launch of the first GSLV-III rocket on a suborbital test flight. The S200 solid boosters and L110 core stage, with two Vikas engines, propelled an inert second stage to 126 km and 5.3 km/s. Second stage separation and payload separation were also tested; the payload was the Crew Module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment, a prototype command module for an Indian manned spacecraft with a mass of 3735 kg which splashed down in the Bay of Bengal. Orbit was around -4418 x 126 km x 32.7 deg.