The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) created history by commissioning the world’s third-largest hypersonic wind tunnel at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
In this regard, ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar commissioned two facilities – a 1-m Hypersonic Wind Tunnel and a 1-m Shock Tunnel.
- These facilities are the third largest in terms of size and simulation capability in the world next only to the ones in the United States (US) and Russia.
- They have been indigenously designed, developed and made in India with the support of Indian Industries.
- Few critical technologies of these tunnels which are under embargo were also indigenously developed.
- These facilities together are quite complex with 500 valves, 2 km of pipelines, 41 electric motors, 35 pumps, 320 instruments and 10 km of cables.
- These tunnels have wide spectrum of simulation capabilities in terms of Mach number, Reynolds number and re-entry velocities.
- Applications: These wind tunnels will be used to study the effects of air flowing past a solid object and in ISRO’s case, space vehicles.
- These new facilities will help aerodynamic characterisation of advanced space transportation systems in a hypersonic environment.
- Significance: Such facilities will provide adequate data for design and development of current and future space transportation systems in the country.
- Commissioning of these facilities also symbolises the country’s capability in establishing such world-class facilities wherein technology from outside is restricted or not available.