The Union Cabinet on Friday gave a nod, sanctioning a budget of Rs 10,000 crore for India’s first manned spaceflight program called the Gaganyaan.
The Indian Space research organisation (ISRO) has been working steadfast, with an aim to send three Indians to space by 2022 as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day speech.
“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.
The ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan had claimed that “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,” further stating, “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,” Sivan reiterated.
He had recently claimed that ISRO would try to make Gaganyaan ‘more and more’ indigenous by utilising the facilities available in the country.
Gaganyaan, India’s first manned space flight 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. GSLV Mk III, the three-stage heavy-lift launch vehicle, will be used to launch Gaganyaan as it has the necessary payload capability. Two unmanned Gaganyaan missions would be undertaken prior to sending humans into space.
In September ISRO had unveiled an orange prototype space suit along with the crew model capsule in which all the three astronauts will travel during the mission.
In July this year, ISRO had demonstrated the pad abort test (PAT), or the crew module ejecting from the rocket in case of a failure.
Though being an extremely complex program, if this mission, which was also the dream project of former Prime Minister, Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, materialises, India will proudly be the fourth nation to send a human being into space, after United States, Russia, and China.
Along with working on this complex mission, ISRO has planned to launch 50 satellites in the next three years. The space agency would launch 22 satellites in 2019, the maximum in any year in the history of ISRO.
Chandrayaan-2, India’s second moon mission, will also be launched in the January-March window in 2019, instead of this year, as earlier targetted, as the design was changed to enable it to land on the lunar surface. ISRO has tentatively fixed 3rd January 2019 as the launch date for Chandrayaan-2.