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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 20 March 2017 commissioned the world’s third largest hypersonic wind tunnel at Thiruvananthapuram’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Kerala.
ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar commissioned two facilities at the centre, one-metre Hypersonic Wind Tunnel and one-metre Shock Tunnel. The event also saw in attendance renowned aero-dynamicist Professor Roddam Narasimha and VSSC Associate Director, S Pandian.
• Named after former ISRO Chairman Satish Dhawan, the two facilities have been indigenously designed, developed and made fully in India with the support of Indian Industries.
• They are the third largest in terms of size and simulation capability in the world.
• They have been indigenously designed, developed and made in India with the support of Indian Industries.
• Commissioning of such facilities will help provide sufficient data for the design and development of current as well as future Space transportation systems in the country.
• The facilities comprise 500 valves, 2 km long pipelines, 41 electric motors, 35 pumps, 320 instruments and 10 km of cables.
• The tunnels also have a wide spectrum of simulation capabilities in terms of Mach number, Reynolds number and re-entry velocities.
Usage of the facilities
• The wind tunnels will be used to study the effects of air flowing past solid objects like space vehicles.
• Aerospace vehicles fly at high speed, often greater than the speed of sound.
• The facilities will help aerodynamic characterisation of advanced space transportation systems in a hypersonic environment.
• They can also be used to simulate the aero-thermal environment where characterisation of vehicles is carried out.
• Though similar facilities exist in the country, they are much smaller in size and have limited simulation capabilities.