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Manned mission in space by 2022, says PM Modi ; ISRO chief says India on track

In his Independence Day address to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India will put an astronaut in space by 2022.

india Updated: Aug 15, 2018 22:48 IST
Anonna Dutt
Anonna Dutt
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India space mission,Gaganyaan,ISRO
ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan (left) at Antariksh Bhavan, in Bengaluru on August 12, 2018.(PTI)

Sending a manned mission to space by 2022, a plan announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech, will make India the fourth country to send a human to space, after the erstwhile USSR, the US and China.

“I am happy to announce that India has decided that by 2022, when India celebrates its 75th year of Independence, or before, an Indian -- could be a boy or a girl -- will go to space with the tricolour in their hand,” Modi said.

India’s human spaceflight programme, Vyom, was proposed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) a decade ago. The Indian manned mission is likely have three crew members entering the Low Earth orbit for five to seven days using an indigenous Mark GSLV III launch vehicle .

“We can achieve the 2022 target that the PM has announced. ISRO already has a crew module, the crew escape system was tested this year, and we have a launch vehicle. Not much more is needed as far as the technology is concerned,” said ISRO chairman K Sivan.

The mission is likely to cost less than R 10,000 crore, Sivan said. “For the mission, ISRO will have two unmanned flights before the final one manned one. The first unmanned flight is likely to be tested within two years and the timeline for the rest will be decided accordingly,” said Sivan.

Work on an orbital vehicle to take the crew to the Low Earth orbit is already underway.

In 2007, India tested its first re-entry technology wherein a 550 kg satellite was sent into the orbit and brought back to earth safely in 12 days to test heat-resistant materials that are essential for re-entry technology.

In July, ISRO successfully tested a crew escape system at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. The test was critical for a manned mission as it could be needed for pulling out crew members in case of a launch abort due to some emergency.

India has already completed a Moon and a Mars mission.

India’s first lunar probe Chandrayan-1 was launched by ISRO in October 2008, and operated until August 2009. The second lunar probe Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled to be launched by January 2019 and will attempt the soft landing of a rover near the moon’s south pole.

The Mars Orbiter Mission, Mangalyaan, was India’s first interplanetary mission that was launched on November 5, 2013, and has been orbiting Mars since September 24, 2014.

First Published: Aug 15, 2018 14:55 IST