Gaganyaan: The first test flight of the Gaganyaan mission is scheduled to take place later this year, said Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Tuesday. On the sidelines of an event, while speaking to reporters, the minister said the government had planned human space flight for 2022, the year of India’s 75th anniversary of Independence. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the schedule went awry. The pandemic took a toll on the training of astronauts in Russia as well as India, Singh said. Next year, in outer space, the first test flight will be followed by sending a female-looking spacefaring humanoid robot, Vyom Mitra, the minister informed.
As the potential crew for the human space flight mission, the Indian Air Force had identified four fighter pilots. In Russia, the potential crew had undergone basic training. Gaganyaan, India’s maiden human space-flight mission is expected to be launched in 2024, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Tuesday. In 2024, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will send at least two astronauts into a low earth orbit. However, it will be done after assessing the outcome of the two orbital test flights, Singh said.
The second orbital test flight will take the Gaganyaan crew capsule to a higher altitude and undergo a similar abort scenario to perfect the system.
In his Independence Day address in 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Gaganyaan mission at a cost of Rs 10,000 crores.
Also, sometime next year, ISRO plans to launch the Chandrayaan-3 mission to the moon. Officials said, next year, there were two launch windows for the moon mission, in February and July. Chandrayaan-3 is a successor to the Chandrayaan-2 mission that crash-landed on the lunar surface.
It is an Indian crewed orbital spacecraft and is being designed to carry three people. A planned upgraded version will be equipped with rendezvous and docking capability.