India to launch first human space mission, Gaganyaan, in 40 months: ISRO chief

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 28, 2018 Published on August 28, 2018

India would launch its first human space mission, Gaganyaan, in 40 months from now, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman, K Sivan, told presspersons here on Tuesday.

Prior to the manned mission, ISRO would conduct two unmanned missions, the first one in 30 months and the second in 36 months, he said, adding that the entire mission would cost the exchequer less than Rs 10,000 crore. So far, only the US, Russia and China have successfully launched manned space missions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his recent Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort, announced that an Indian astronaut would be in space before the country celebrates its 75th Independence Day, which falls in 2022.

According to the ISRO chief, the Gaganyaan mission would create 15,000 new employment opportunities, 13,000 of them in private industry and the space organisation would need an additional manpower of 900. Many national scientific institutions and private industrial houses would help ISRO in undertaking this ambitious mission.

As it is planned currently, an Indian astronaut, who is yet to be chosen, would be stationed at an altitude of 400 km from earth for 5-7 days, Sivan said. The payload, or orbital module, consisting of a crew module and a service module, will have a diameter of 3 metres and a height of 10 metres and would weigh about 3.8 tonnes.

The flight would take 16 minutes to reach its orbit and during the period of stay, the astronaut would carry out a series of experiments, particularly microgravity experiments. The descent, on the other hand, would take 36 minutes as care would be taken to avoid heating up while heading back to earth, the ISRO chief said.

At 120 km from earth, the service module would detach, allowing the crew module to prepare for its journey towards the earth. “According to the plan, the module will fall into the Arabian Sea. We are also preparing for a landing in the Bay of Bengal, or even on land,” Sivan said.

As regards preparedness for the human flight, the ISRO Chairman said the space organisation has successfully carried out space capsule recovery experiments in the past. A prototype space suit has been designed and made indigenously.

“Soon, you would see advertisements for selecting potential astronauts,” Sivan said, adding that the chosen space traveller would need 30 months of rigorous training, which would be given jointly by ISRO and the Indian Air Force, at the Bengaluru-based Institute of Avian Medicine.

Published on August 28, 2018
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