ISRO unveils Gaganyaan Mission to put Indians in space before 2022

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on August 28, 2018 unveiled the details of the Gaganyaan mission for manned space flight before 2022. The Gaganyaan mission was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 72nd Independence Day speech. PM Modi announced that this manned space mission will take Indian astronauts to space on board ‘Gaganyaan’ by 2022. ISRO Chairman, Dr K. Sivan said that the programme will make India the fourth nation in the world to launch a Human Spaceflight Mission. So far, only the USA, Russia and China have launched human spaceflight missions.

India’s first manned space mission ‘Gaganyaan’ will be launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) by 2022. Prior to the actual launch of this manned mission by 2022, the ISRO will launch two unmanned Gaganyaan missions. GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle, having the necessary payload capability for this mission, will be used to launch Gaganyaan.

The crew will do a microgravity experiment during the mission. The crew will be selected by Indian Air Force (IAF) and ISRO jointly after which they will undergo training for two-three years. The crew, while coming back to the Earth, could land in the Arabian Sea off the Gujarat coast or in the Bay of Bengal or even on land. The mission may be executed six months before India completes its 75th Independence Day with the help of GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle.

While ISRO has perfected the engineering aspects of the mission, bioscience is a new field for ISRO and will require collaboration and support from other organisations. The programme is expected to be completed before 2022 with the first unmanned flight within 30 months. The total programme cost is expected to be less than Rs 10000 crores.

ISRO has developed some critical technologies like re-entry mission capability, crew escape system, crew module configuration, thermal protection system, deceleration and floatation system and sub-systems of life support system required for this programme. Some of these technologies have been demonstrated successfully through the Space Capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE-2007), Crew module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment (CARE-2014) and Pad Abort Test (2018). These technologies will enable ISRO in accomplishing the programme objectives in a short span of 4 years.

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