India’s target for sending astronauts to space is December 2021, the chief of ISRO said today. The ambitious Gaganyaan project by the space agency will help India become the fourth nation to independently send humans to space.
The announcement of the Gaganyaan project was first made last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Independence Day when he said “a son or daughter of India will go to space” by 2022.
“The announcement for Gaganyaan will be done in India and advanced training maybe in Russia. Women astronauts will be there on the team. That’s our aim,” ISRO chief K Sivan said.
Last month, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had announced that three Indian astronauts will be sent to space for up to seven days by 2022 as part of Gaganyaan. The cabinet has cleared of Rs. 10,000 crore for the programme.
ISRO hopes to deploy its biggest rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III), to send the astronauts into space from the Sriharikota space port in Andhra Pradesh.
The astronauts will be called “Vyomnauts” since “Vyom” in Sanskrit means space. The ISRO chief said the candidates selected for the space mission will be trained initially in India and then sent abroad for advanced training.
India has inked agreements with Russia and France for assistance in Gaganyaan.
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.