The Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) is an experimental test vehicle for the Indian Space Research Organisation's future Orbital Vehicle. It was launched successfully on 18 December 2014 from the Second Launch Pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, by a GSLV Mk III designated by ISRO as the LVM 3X CARE mission.
The crew module was mounted upside-down inside the payload fairing of the GSLV Mk III. CARE was made of aluminium alloy and had a lift-off mass of 3,735 kg. Its diameter was 3100 mm and its height was 2678 mm. The module had an ablative thermal protection. The side panels were covered with Medium Density Ablative (MDA) tiles and the forward heat shield was made of carbon phenolic tiles. It was powered by batteries and was equipped with six liquid-propellant (MMH/MON3) 100 N thrusters.
CARE was launched on 18 December 2014 at 04:00 UTC. The crew module was separated at the intended height of 126 km and a speed of 5300 m/s. It entered a coast phase during which it performed three axis control manoeuvres in order to ensure zero degree angle of attack at reentry.
The ballistic reentry started from an altitude of about 80 km. At this altitude, the propulsion was shut down. The heat shield experienced temperatures around 1,000 degrees C and the capsule experienced deceleration of up to 13 g.
After the re-entry the vehicle performed a descent and splashdown during which an end-to-end validation of the parachute system was performed, including the demonstration of the apex cover separation and the parachute deployment in cluster configuration. The deployment sequence started when CARE had slowed down to a speed of 233 m/s. The crew module carried three stages of parachutes, all of which came in pairs. First, both 2.3-meter diameter pilot parachutes came out, followed by the 6.2-meter drogue parachutes, which cut the capsule’s velocity down to 50 m/s. Then both main parachutes were deployed at a height of about 5 km. These parachutes, each 31 meters in diameter, were the largest ever made in India.
CARE splashed down into the Bay of Bengal about 600 km from Port Blair in the Andaman Islands and about 1600 km from the Sriharikota launch site. Immediately afterwards the main parachutes were detached. CARE was recovered by the Indian Coast Guard after tracking its signal beacon. The entire duration of the experiment from launch to splashdown was 20 minutes 43 seconds.
After recovery the module was brought to Chennai on 22 December 2014, from where it will be sent to the Satish Dhawan Space Centre for preliminary processing. The module will then be sent to Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre for further study and analysis.
|0.1||S200 ignition||Ground-lit ignition of 2 strap-on Solid Rocket Boosters|
|120||L110 ignition||Air-lit ignition of L110 core which contains 2 liquid fueled Vikas rocket engines|
|153.5||S200 separation||Ejection of 2 spent solid strap-on boosters|
|163.4||CLG initiated||CLG = Closed-Loop Guidance|
|324.6||L110 shut-off||Nominal: Relative Velocity 4.92 km/s, Range 565.6 km, Altitude 125.6 km, Azimuth 121.1 degrees|
|325.7||L110 separation||Nominal: Relative Velocity 4.95 km/s, Range 570.5 km, Altitude 125.4 km, Azimuth 121.1 degrees|
|330.8||CARE module separation||Nominal: Relative Velocity 4.96 km/s, Range 599.5 km, Altitude 125.1 km, Azimuth 121.1 degrees|
|341.0||CARE module CLG started||Nominal: Relative Velocity 4.96 km/s, Range 633.1 km, Altitude 125.2 km, Azimuth 121.1 degrees|
|385.5||CARE module in ballistic descent||Nominal: Relative Velocity 4.93 km/s, Range 858.8 km, Altitude 116.6 km, Azimuth 121.0 degrees|
|399.5||CARE module in ballistic descent||Nominal: Relative Velocity 4.94 km/s, Range 926.6 km, Altitude 111.8 km, Azimuth 121.0 degrees|
|419.5||CARE module in ballistic descent||Nominal: Relative Velocity 4.96 km/s, Range 1023.5 km, Altitude 103.1 km, Azimuth 121.0 degrees|
|440.5||CARE module in ballistic descent||Nominal: Relative Velocity 4.98 km/s, Range 1125.6 km, Altitude 91.8 km, Azimuth 121.0 degrees|
|460.6||CARE module reentry||Nominal|
|468.5||CARE module in ballistic descent||Nominal: Relative Velocity 5.00 km/s, Range 1262.4 km, Altitude 73.3 km, Azimuth 121.0 degrees|
|573.0||CARE module in descent||Nominal: Relative Velocity 0.244 km/s, Range 1534.5 km, Altitude 18.1 km|
|584.0||CARE module 15.5 km altitude||Nominal: Relative Velocity 0.210 km/s, Range 1535.6 km, Altitude 15.9 km|
|584.3||APEX cover separation||Nominal|
|584.5||CARE module in descent||Nominal: Relative Velocity 0.209 km/s, Range 1535.7 km, Altitude 15.8 km|
|589.4||Pilot Chute deployed||Nominal|
|596||CARE module in descent||Nominal: Relative Velocity 0.086 km/s, Range 1536.0 km, Altitude 14.2 km|
|740.6||CARE module 5 km altitude||Nominal|
|741.4||Main Chute deployed||CARE module's rate of descent increased abnormally prior to splash-down|
|751.0||CARE module in descent||Displayed telemetry: Relative Velocity 0.431 km/s, Range 1508.2 km, Altitude 0.9 km|
|755.0||CARE module in descent||Displayed telemetry: Relative Velocity 0.443 km/s, Range 1506.6 km, Altitude 0.6 km|
|760.0||CARE module in descent||Displayed telemetry: Relative Velocity 0.459 km/s, Range 1504.7 km, Altitude 0.1 km|
|761.0||CARE module in descent||Displayed telemetry: Relative Velocity 0.462 km/s, Range 1504.3 km, Altitude 0.0 km|
|779.0||CARE module in descent||Displayed telemetry: Relative Velocity 0.518 km/s, Range 1496.7 km, Altitude -1.7 km|
|833.0||CARE module in descent||Displayed telemetry: Relative Velocity 0.689 km/s, Range 1468.7 km, Altitude -7.8 km|
|940.0||CARE module in descent||Final display of telemetry: Relative Velocity 1.014 km/s, Range 1406.3 km, Altitude -21.0 km|