Stating that putting an Indian in space was the most ambitious space programme undertaken by ISRO till date, ISRO Chairman K Sivan said that Gaganyaan ( India’s maiden human spaceflight programme) will put a three-person crew in low earth orbit by 2022 and will stay in orbit for 5-7 days.
“It will give a big boost to the Science and Technology development within the country. ISRO has the capabilities to accomplish this task by the given timeframe. This is a huge responsibility and a challenging task for ISRO, but it will succeed,” he told reporters in Delhi.
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.
It may be recalled that the Prime Minister during his Independence Day address had announced `Gaganyaan — India’s maiden human spaceflight programme’. He had declared that ‘a son or a daughter of India will go to Space from Indian soil by an Indian vehicle by 2022 (75th year of Indian independence) or sooner’.
On Gaganyaan, Sivan said that it will comprise of a crew module, service module and orbital module, weighing approximately 7 tonnes, and will be carried by a rocket. The crew module’s size will be 3.7 mts x 7 mts. The crew will do 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. While ISRO has perfected the engineering aspects of the mission, Sivan said bioscience was a new field for ISRO and requires collaboration and support from other organizations.
GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle, which has the necessary payload capability for this mission, will be used to launch Gaganyaan, he said. Two unmanned Gaganyaan missions will be undertaken prior to sending humans. The total programme cost is expected to be less than Rs. 10,000 crores.
Describing the mission as a complex one, the ISRO Chairman said that it would truly be a national endeavour with the participation of ISRO, academia, industry as well as other government and private agencies as stakeholders. To accelerate the programme, ISRO may consider collaborations with space agencies from friendly countries with advanced space programmes.
Apart from Gaganyaan, he also spoke about the forthcoming projects of ISRO, including Chandrayaan-2 scheduled to be launched in January 2019. The Mission will have an orbiter weighing 2379 kg, lander named Vikram weighing 1471 kg and a rover weighing 27 kg. Explaining the delay in launch of Chandrayaan-2, he said that the payload of the Mission has increased to provide for another component of the lander at 30 km orbit, which required a GSLV MkIII rocket for launch.
He said that ISRO aims to launch 19 missions upto March 2019. These missions include launch of 4 satellites to accomplish the Digital India programme by providing higher bandwidt