ISRO to send 3 Indians to space by 2021 in Gaganyaan mission
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced its plan to send Indian astronauts to space in December 2021 under India’s flagship human space mission programme Gaganyaan, at a cost of Rs 100 billion.
The crew, which is expected to have up to three members will include a woman and will orbit in space for up to a week.
ISRO chairperson K Sivan announced that a Human Spaceflight Centre will come up in Bengaluru to train crew and make systems safe for space missions, starting with Gaganyaan. “With the addition of this new aspect, this is a major turning point for ISRO. This programme will not end with just sending humans to space, but continue with sending humans to a space station and then, to the moon,” said Sivan.
The centre will be headed by S Unnikrishnan Nair and the Gaganyaan programme will be headed by R Hutton.
ISRO also made a slew of other big-ticket announcements.
This year will see 32 space missions, double the number from last year, including 14 vehicle launches and 18 spacecraft missions. Primary among them will be the launch of Chandrayaan-2, India’s second moon mission, at a cost of ~8 billion. The mission to land a rover on moon faced delays in 2018, and missed a launch window in January. It is expected to launch by mid-April. The GSAT-20’s expected launch is in September or October. Its launch will complete the four satellite set-up in space (others are GSAT-11, GSAT-19 and GSAT-29) to provide 100 GBPS connectivity.
“GSAT-20 satellite will complete the Government of India’s Digital India programme. We need to provide high bandwidth connectivity to the country and GSAT-20 along with GSAT-29 and GSAT-11 will meet the requirement,” Sivan said.
The launch will not only ensure better internet bandwidth to J&K and Northeast, but will also enable in-flight connectivity.
The Gaganyaan mission was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year in his Independence Day speech.