India’s first manned space flight-Gaganyaan is expected to send three persons into space for seven days and the spacecraft will be placed in a low earth orbit of 300-400 km.
Talking at a press conference, Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space, Jitendra Singh said, GSLV Mk III, the three-stage heavy-lift launch vehicle, will be used to launch Gaganyaan as it has the necessary payload capability. He also confirmed that two unmanned Gaganyaan missions would be undertaken prior to sending humans into space.
“The total programme is expected to be completed before 2022 with the first unmanned flight within 30 months. The mission will aim to send a three-person crew to space for a period of seven days. The spacecraft will be placed in a low earth orbit of 300-400 km. The programme is expected to cost less than Rs. 10,000 crore,” Singh said. He further added that, “The mission will make India the fourth nation in the world to launch a Human Spaceflight Mission.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his Independence Day speech, had vowed to put an Indian in space by 2022. “When India celebrates the 75th year of Independence in 2022, and if possible even before, an Indian son or daughter will undertake a manned space mission on board ‘Gaganyaan’, carrying the National Flag,” the PM had announced from the ramparts of the red fort on the occasion of Independence Day.
“This is most ambitious space programme taken up by ISRO till date and essential as it will give a big boost to the Science and Technology development within the country,” ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan said. “The ISRO is committed to honouring the wish of PM. This has also been the dream of thousands of scientists and citizens of the country,” ISRO said.
ISRO also said that to accelerate the programme, it may consider seeking collaboration with space agencies from friendly countries with advanced space programmes.
The proposed ‘Human Spaceflight Programme’, which has been on the table since 2004, had the UPA government sanctioning only Rs. 145 crores for the pre-launch activities. However, ISRO is expected to get more funds from the NDA government in the coming months following the PM’s announcement.
As of today, though there is no specific estimation on any public domain, insiders say that ISRO needs a budget of at least Rs. 10,000 – Rs. 12,000 crores to carry out this mammoth task. Everything said and done, if this materialises, this complex programme will truly be a national endeavour, making Indian the fourth nation to send a human being into space, after United States, Russia, and China.