Gaganyaan, space station will pave way for continuous Indian presence in space: ISRO chief

“New science will emerge from Gaganyaan and enhance our science and technology capabilities,” says K. Sivan.

January 22, 2020 02:26 pm | Updated November 28, 2021 11:51 am IST - Bengaluru

K. Sivan./ File

K. Sivan./ File

Gaganyaan, the first Indian human space flight set for 2022, and a subsequent space station would pave the way for continuous Indian presence in space, K. Sivan, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space, said here on Wednesday.

The crewed space mission would also help to build a framework for long-term global partnerships that benefit society in many ways, he said at the inaugural of a three-day international symposium on human space flight.

Gaganyaan was not just an ISRO project. It was a national endeavour that involved laboratories, . It was expected that “new science will emerge from Gaganyaan and enhance our science and technology capabilities,” Dr..Sivan told an international gathering of space experts, decision-makers, associated industries, astronauts and students. 

“One ISS [International Space Station] put up by multiple countries may not be enough. Regional ecosystems will be needed and Gaganyaan will focus on regional needs: food, water and energy security,” he said.

“From employment to security [food, energy and so on], most countries have similar goals, and these partnerships can help meet those goals. Benefits from possible spin-offs are aplenty,” he observed.

Key ingredients in place

The target of realising Gaganyaan by August 2022, he admitted, was challenging. However, ISRO already has the GSLV-MarkIII as a working launch vehicle. It had proven systems for re-entry and recovery of the crew capsule, space-qualified parachutes for safe descent of crew and was working on a comprehensive emergency escape system for astronauts. “The missing systems, namely human life science and support system, are being developed now,” he stated.

ISRO is getting four candidate astronauts from the Air Force to train in Russia and taking French assistance for training in their health upkeep during space travel.

K. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, referred to the challenges of climate change that warranted coordinated global efforts. Space collaborations, he said, had shown the world how to tackle such international issues.

As for the critical area of life sciences that is important in a human flight, he said that many more studies were needed for a full understanding in spite of numerous astronaut missions.

Key officials from eight space agencies and five astronauts from five countries are in Bengaluru for the event that focusses on the challenges and future trends of human flights.

The symposium is organised by ISRO, the International Astronautical Association (IAA) and the Aeronautical Society of India.

Among the key participants are Joel Montalbano from NASA's ISS Program Office, director of Russian ROSCOSMOS's department of manned spaceflight Alexander Bykov, IAA Secretary General Jean-Michel Contant, French agency CNES's head of the launch vehicle directorate Jean-Marc Astorg, European Space Agency's inter-agency Coordinator Thomas Reiter, Japan Exploration and Space Agency's Director-General of Space flight Technology Shizuo Yamamoto and Romanian Space Agency CEO Marius-Ioan Piso.

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