Samudrayaan Mission: All about India’s first manned mission to send humans 6,000 meters into the ocean

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India to undertake a mega ocean mission – ‘Samudrayaan’. With this manned mission, the country aims to unravel the mysteries of the deep-sea waters by sending a group of underwater experts to conduct our various studies.

Samudrayaan Mission aims to develop a self-propelled crewed submarine to take three people to a water depth of 6,000 meters in the ocean with an array of scientific sensors and tools for deep ocean exploration. It has an endurance of 12 hours operational period and 96 hours in case of emergency.

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The manned submarine will enable scientific personnel to observe and understand unexplored deep-sea areas through direct interventions. Furthermore, it will improve the possibilities for the development of deep-sea cars.

What is the timeline for the Samudrayaan mission?

The expected timeline is five years for the period 2020-2021 to 2025-2026. India has a unique maritime location, a 7517 km long coastline with nine coastal states and 1,382 islands. The Indian government’s vision for ‘New India’ highlights the blue economy as one of the ten core dimensions of growth.

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National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai, an autonomous institute under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), has developed Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) with a depth of 6000 m and several other underwater instruments such as Autonomous Coring System (ACS), Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and Deep Sea Mining System (DSM) for deep sea exploration.

With the launch of the unique ocean mission ‘Samudrayaan’ in October 2021, India joined the elite club of countries such as USA, Russia, Japan, France and China to have niche technology and vehicles to carry out submarine operations.

In launching the marine exploration initiative, Foreign Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said: “This niche technology will facilitate the Ministry of Earth Sciences in conducting deep sea exploration of non-living resources such as polymetallic manganese nodules, gas hydrates, hydro- thermal sulphides and cobalt crusts, located at depths between 1000 and 5500 meters.

“Oceans, covering 70 percent of the globe, remain an important part of our lives. About 95 percent of the Deep Ocean remains unexplored. For India, with its three sides surrounded by the oceans and about 30 percent of the country’s population in coastal and coastal areas play an important economic factor supporting fisheries and aquaculture, tourism, livelihoods and blue trade.

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The preliminary design of the manned submarine ‘MATSYA 6000’ has been completed and the realization of the vehicle has started, together with several organizations including ISRO, IITM and DRDO, who have supported the initiative, the Union minister added.

Developed domestically, the MATSYA 6000 is a manned submersible vehicle. It will assist the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) in conducting explorations in the deep ocean. The underwater vehicles are essential for performing subsea activities such as high-resolution depth measurement, biodiversity assessment, geoscientific observation, search activities, salvage operations and technical support. While unmanned underwater vehicles can maneuver better and have excellent vision systems similar to direct observation, a manned submarine provides a sense of direct physical presence to researchers and has better intervention capability. With the advancing submarine technologies.

The Indian government had approved the Deep Ocean Mission (DOM) to be conducted under the auspices of the Ministry of Earth Sciences with a total budget of Rs 4,077 crore for a period of five years.

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The estimated cost for the first phase for the 3 years (2021-2024) would be Rs 2,823.4 crore. Deep Ocean Mission will be a mission mode project in support of the Indian government’s Blue Economy initiatives.

With an emphasis on the development of deep-sea technology, the Deep Ocean Mission consists of the development of manned submersibles suitable for water depths of 6,000 meters, along with technologies for deep-sea mining, deep-sea mineral exploration and marine biodiversity.

Some of the critical subsystems of the manned submersibles are the development of Ti Alloy Personnel Sphere, Human support and safety system in a confined space, Low Density Buoyancy Modules, Ballast and Trim System. Pressure compensated batteries and propulsion system, control and communication systems and launch and recovery system.

System design, concept of operation, functionality and integrity of sub-components, emergency response, failure mode analysis are assessed and certified according to the International Association of Classification and Certification Society rules for human-assessed use of manned submersibles at a depth of 6000 meters.

(with ANI inputs)

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