Three Indian astronauts will be sent to space for up to seven days by 2022, as part of India’s ambitious Gaganyaan project by ISRO, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad announced this evening. The Union cabinet has approved a budget of Rs. 10,000 crore for the programme. ISRO’s Gaganyaan will help India become the fourth nation to independently send humans to space. The announcement of the Gaganyaan project was first made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on India’s 72nd Independence Day – his fifth and final address ahead of the next general elections.
Following are the top 10 developments on India’s Gaganyaan programme:
- India’s space agency ISRO hopes to deploy its biggest rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III), to send three Indians into space from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh.
- The space agency hopes to launch the first mission within 40 months. The plans in the “demonstration phase” includes undertaking two unmanned flights and one human flight using Indian technology to catapult a crew of three into a low earth orbit for 5-7 days.
- Dr K Sivan, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), commenting on the 2022 deadline, had earlier said it was a “very, very tight schedule but ISRO will do it.” India has inked agreements with Russia and France for assistance in Gaganyaan.
- India plans to call its astronauts “Vyomnauts” since “Vyom” in Sanskrit means space.
- Till date, ISRO has spent Rs. 173 crore developing critical technologies for human space flight. The plan was first pitched in 2008 but was put on the backburner as the economy and Indian rockets experienced setbacks.
- India tested its re-entry technology through the Satellite Recovery Experiment in 2007 when a 550-kilogram satellite was sent into orbit and then safely brought back to earth.
- The experiment tested the lightweight silicon tiles that can protect any spaceship as it re-enters the earth’s atmosphere.
- Later, in 2014, India tested a Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE), where a 3,745 kg space capsule – a prototype of the crew module that will be used by the Indian astronauts – was launched into the atmosphere on the first flight of the GSLV Mk III and then safely recovered from the Bay of Bengal.
- Since then, ISRO has also mastered the art of making a spacesuit which will be used by Indian astronauts when they get sent into space from Sriharikota.
- Earlier this year, ISRO carried out a crucial Pad Abort Test on July 5, when a 12.5-ton crew module was tested to make sure in case of an accident on the launch pad, the crew can be rescued safely.
Source – NDTV