The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch the first uncrewed mission in December, as part of the human spaceflight programme ‘Gaganyaan’. It is facing challenges due to the adverse impact of the COVID-19-induced lockdowns that has disrupted hardware delivery schedules.
As part of the mandate of Gaganyaan, two uncrewed flights are planned to test the end-to-end capacity for the manned mission.
When was it announced?
Formal announcement of the Gaganyaan programme was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day address on August 15, 2018.
The initial target was to launch the human spaceflight before the 75th anniversary of India’s independence on August 15, 2022.
The objective of the Gaganyaan programme is to demonstrate the capability to send humans to low earth orbit on board an Indian launch vehicle and bring them back to earth safely.
Preparation and launch:
Four Indian astronaut-candidates have already undergone generic space flight training in Russia as part of the Gaganyaan programme.
ISRO’s heavy-lift launcher GSLV Mk III has been identified for the mission.
Relevance of a Manned Space Mission for India:
- Boost to industries: The Indian industry will find large opportunities through participation in the highly demanding Space missions. Gaganyaan Mission is expected to source nearly 60% of its equipment from the Indian private sector.
- Employment: According to the ISRO chief, the Gaganyaan mission would create 15,000 new employment opportunities, 13,000 of them in private industry and the space organisation would need an additional manpower of 900.
- Spurs research and development: It will thrust significant research in areas such as materials processing, astro-biology, resources mining, planetary chemistry, planetary orbital calculus and many other areas.
- Motivation: Human space flight will provide that inspiration to the youth and also the national public mainstream. It would inspire the young generation into notable achievements and enable them to play their legitimate role in challenging future activities.
- Prestige: India could potentially become the fourth country to launch a human space mission. The Gaganyaan will not only bring about prestige to the nation but also establish India’s role as a key player in the space industry.