For its first manned space mission, ISRO picks four IAF pilots

Anil Urs Bengaluru | Updated on January 02, 2020

Training for Gaganyaan expected to start in Russia from the last week of this month

Setting aside the failure of Chandrayaan-2, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up for two major missions in 2020. Chandrayaan-3 — the country’s third lunar mission — and Gaganyaan — the ambitious manned indigenous space mission.

The Gaganyaan mission is expected to commence in Russia from the last week of January. So far, four astronauts have been identified for the mission from the Indian Air Force; no woman has been selected.


ISRO’s Chairman K Sivan told reporters: “This year will be the year of Chandrayan-3 and Gaganyaan. We have also planned another satellite for this year — the GSAT 20, and many other missions have also been planned for 2020.”

ISRO will also be taking up over 25 other missions this year.

“The work related to Chandrayaan-3 and Gaganyaan are going on simultaneously and the government has approved our third lunar mission — Chandrayaan-3. The Chandrayaan-3 mission is slated to be launched later this year or early in 2021,” he added.

Third lunar mission

Sivan said that the Chandrayaan-3 configuration would be similar to that of Chandrayaan-2 which failed to land on the Moon.

“This means that the Chandrayaan-3 will have a lander and a rover with propulsion module. Landing of the lander and rover is also planned in the South polar region.”

Explaining the possible reasons for the crash-landing of Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander, Sivan said that while the rough breaking phase I went well, we were unable to control the velocity in phase II of the mission, due to which, in phase III, the lander went out of control leading to a hard landing.

Congratulating the Chennai-based techie for locating the Vikram lander of Chandrayaan-2, Sivan added, “We knew where it crashed and where it was located, but it was the space agency’s policy not to release picture or disclose whereabouts of the crashed module.”

Scheduled for 2022

The mission is scheduled for 2022 and is expected to carry three astronauts, who will be picked from among the test pilots from the Indian Air Force. They will be sent to space for seven days on board Gaganyaan, a crew capsule to be launched with the help of Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

“We made good progress on Gaganyaan in 2019; many of the designs were completed. Four astronauts were identified for training, which is planned for the third week of January in Russia,” Sivan said.

“Along with two major missions, we are also working and planning to undertake many major other projects, new research and developments and launch of satellites required for societal purpose,” said Sivan.

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on January 01, 2020
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor