For Gaganyaan astronauts, Isro may opt for Russian-made spacesuits | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

For Gaganyaan astronauts, Isro may opt for Russian-made spacesuits

Jan 12, 2024 08:56 PM IST

Documents reviewed by HT show the Gaganyaan mission, which is India’s first manned spaceflight, will see Isro suiting up the three Indian astronauts in Russian spacesuits

NEW DELHI: NEW DELHI: The Indian astronauts who will be travelling to space on the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) Gaganyaan spacecraft will likely wear Russian-made spacesuits, despite speculation that the indigenously made Intra Vehicular Activity (IVA) suits may be used.

Isro chairman S Somanath said earlier this month that 2024 will be the “year for Gaganyaan” (FILE/REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE)
Isro chairman S Somanath said earlier this month that 2024 will be the “year for Gaganyaan” (FILE/REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE)

Documents reviewed by HT show that while the space agency has nearly completed work on its IVA suits, developed by the Vikram Sarabhai Space, the Gaganyaan mission — which is India’s first manned spaceflight — will see Isro sticking to Plan A of suiting up the three Indian astronauts in Russian spacesuits.

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“Considering the programmatic requirements and to doubly ensure the crew safety, it is planned to induct Russian space suits for the (Gaganyaan) mission,” one of the documents said.

Isro chairman S Somanath said earlier this month that 2024 will be the “year for Gaganyaan”. The coming months will see several rounds of tests and technology demonstrations for the mission, which aims to demonstrate Isro’s human spaceflight capability by launching a crew of three members to an orbit of 400km for a three-day mission and bringing them back safely.

Leading up to the actual manned mission, the space agency will be conducting several rounds of tests. After the TV-D1 test flight demonstration, which was carried out in October last year, the space agency will also be carrying out a test flight with a robot, ‘Vyomitra’, a humanoid astronaut, and an unmanned flight before the manned mission, possibly scheduled for 2025, according to officials from the department of space.

Last year, the space agency completed some key trials related to the mission. On February 7, Isro, along with the Indian Navy carried out the initial recovery trials of crew module in the Water Survival Test Facility (WSTF) of the Indian Navy in Kochi. The trials were part of the preparation for crew module recovery operations, Isro also tested the Gaganyaan Service Module Propulsion System (SMPS) on July 19 at the Isro Propulsion Complex (IPRC) in Mahendragiri. On October 21, the agency conducted the first developmental flight of test vehicle (TV-D1) with the in-flight abort demonstration of the crew escape system (CES).

Isro scientists confirmed that the three astronaut designates have already been to Russia for their suit trials.

“On September 3 (2023), Indian cosmonauts who have been training for a spaceflight in Russia under the contract of Glavkosmos, visited Zvezda, where their anthropometric parameters were measured for the subsequent production of spacesuits,” Glavkosmos, a subsidiary of the Roscosmos, the Russian space agency said in a statement last year.

Isro scientists that HT spoke to, however, said that this was not a confirmation that the final choice would definitely be the Russian-made suits.

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    Soumya Pillai covers environment and traffic in Delhi. A journalist for three years, she has grown up in and with Delhi, which is often reflected in the stories she does about life in the city. She also enjoys writing on social innovations.

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