Powering the final frontier: A quest to return to the moon
Earlier this summer, India attempted humankind's 39th soft landing attempt to the moon. The lander traveled more than 200,000 miles in an attempt to land on the moon's South Pole.
Just 1.6 miles. That was the distance between India's Vikram moon lander and the moon before the communication with the lander was lost. But optimism and pride for the mission still abounds, as the orbiter was successfully deployed and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) plans to map the surface of earth's closest - and only - natural satellite.
A mission filled with excitement and pride from the beginning
July 22, 2019 was a historic day for the country of India and Cummins Inc., as the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched its second successful mission, titled Chandrayaan-2, to the moon.
In addition to the entire country of India watching Chandrayaan-2 exiting earth's atmosphere with great pride, a team of Cummins employees were experiencing an additional feeling of accomplishment as they played a significant part in powering the entire launch. A specially engineered Cummins generator performed flawlessly to ensure the Chandrayaan-2 had the power to leave the earth.
Cummins has been powering the world for over 100 years but powering beyond our atmosphere was a challenge the company enthusiastically accepted. A few months back, Chandrashekhar Chougule, Senior General Manager of Technical Support at Cummins India, and Shantha Kumar, Business Development Manager at Cummins India, had embarked on solving a very complex problem of ensuring the Cummins C500D5P genset could perform under extreme temperatures with very limited ventilation.
It was during the installation and commissioning the team realized the genset was going to be placed directly under the launchpad and was going to power the liftoff. The installation was also quite complex due to the need for continuous operation of the genset when the rocket is moved from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the launchpad. The controller also needed to be integrated with a remote monitoring system that was part of the mission control center. This entire setup was also synchronized with two remotely installed C1250D5P 1250KVA gensets.
The month of the launch, the Distribution segment team asked to place a team of people and a service van at the service site to respond immediately in case of any emergencies. Sunkiah, Vamsi and Christopher were the service engineers deputed to the site. They were on 24/7 standby for a few days prior to the launch as the ISRO went about their readiness actions for the launch.
And when the liftoff happened, the Cummins C500D5P was more than up to the task. And when the entire nation cheered for the ISRO, Cummins India cheered both for ISRO and the Power Generation and DBU teams who defined Cummins' role in the space exploration history of India.
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