The new trisonic wind tunnel at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) was inaugurated recently by conducting the first blow-down test successfully.

 

About the tunnel

  • The massive structure, which can perform tests in three speed regimes, equips the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with a robust in-house support system for space missions.
  • Trisonic Wind Tunnel is a system to aid aerodynamic design of rockets and re-entry spacecrafts by characterising a scaled model by evaluating forces, moments, load distribution, unsteady pressures, acoustic levels etc.
  • The tunnel has an overall length of about 160m and has a maximum cross section of 5.4m.
  • The tunnel can be used for testing various space vehicles in three flight regimes —
    • below the speed of sound (subsonic),
    • at the speed of sound (transonic) and
    • above the speed of sound (supersonic),
  • hence the name trisonic wind tunnel.
  • The tunnel can simulate flight conditions from 0.2 times the speed of sound (68 m/s) to 4 times the speed of sound (1360 m/s).
  • Its parts include air storage vessels, a settling chamber where the airflow is ‘smoothened’ out, and nozzles for releasing the air into the test section.
  • Implementation — The trisonic wind tunnel was implemented through M/s Tata Projects India Ltd with the assistance of industries across the country.
  • For years, ISRO had depended on the trisonic wind tunnel at the National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL), Bengaluru.
  • Hypersonic wind tunnel —
    • The VSSC is already equipped with a hypersonic wind tunnel for testing parameters of re-entry missions.
    • Commissioned in 2017, this tunnel can simulate flow speeds up to Mach 12.