22 March 2017 Current Affairs: 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.
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