Spacecraft for ‘Gaganyaan’ mission developed: ISRO scientist

 ‘In 2023, a series of tests will be done, astronauts identified for Gaganyaan underwent crucial training in Russia’

December 07, 2022 07:22 pm | Updated 07:22 pm IST

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed a spacecraft for carrying astronauts to space as part of the ambitious ‘Gaganyaan’ mission and the crew module that has been successfully designed is under production. The coming year is crucial for the mission as a series of tests will be undertaken with the test vehicle already developed for a couple of unmanned missions before the manned mission takes off.

Disclosing the ISRO’s progress of ‘Gaganyaan’ mission at the three-day national conference on “Futuristic strategies for the sustainment of troops in different terrains”, organised by the DRDO-DFRL in Mysuru, R. Umamaheshwaran, Director, HSFC, ISRO, Bengaluru said the pandemic affected the mission’s progress and the project now has gained full momentum. This pan-world programme has been supported by Russia, Japan and agencies including NASA besides the academia and the industry. Nearly 700 industry partners are involved with the ISRO in the mission.

Describing ‘Gaganyaan’ a “complex programme” and most challenging one, the ISRO scientist said the astronauts identified for the mission have successfully undergone training in Russia and are also undergoing another round of training in Bengaluru at the astronaut training centre.

The DFRL was developing food for the astronauts and the thermo-stabilised food has been developed for them because of its simplicity, he added.

Phase of testing

Dr. Umamaheshwaran said the ‘Gaganyaan’ has entered a phase where a lot of testing will be carried out, including the crew escape system - in the ascent phase, orbital phase and descent phase. The crew health monitoring system has also been developed.

The space scientist said the ISRO’s plan of carrying humans to space was actually thought of 20 years ago as a study team was constituted to understand its feasibility and explore the methodologies to be involved for the project. Another team was formed to study what technology has to be employed and the launch vehicle required for the mission.

In 2012, an initial project study was constituted and the ISRO decided to take up the challenge after undertaking a wide range of studies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced ‘Gaganyaan’ mission in 2018. “It’s been four years now and a lot of work has been done. We lost time because of COVID-19 but the project is in brisk phase now, with the launch vehicle – a most powerful rocket – developed, and the liquid engine test already done successfully,” he told the gathering.

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