Gaganyaan’s review panel to meet in March

An ISRO launch in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.B. Jothi RamalingamB_JOTHI RAMALINGAM  

A national review committee on Gaganyaan is slated to meet for the first time here on March 5 and 6 and comprehensively scan the contours of the first Indian human mission to space.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) wants to unveil the human mission’s details to stakeholders from multiple agencies, and also keep the nation in the loop about the prestigious mission, K.Sivan, ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space, said. He added, “It should also give us the confidence that we are on the right track with such a humongous project.”

The broad-based review committee may have around 100 experts and scientists related to all aspects of the Rs. 10,000-crore human mission, it is learnt.

The committee will also be briefed on March 6 on the lunar lander and rover mission, Chandrayaan-2, which may take place around April.

Back in November 2004, ISRO had first brainstormed a crewed mission at a similar gathering of nearly 100 experts in Bengaluru.

Agreements and programmes planned with the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will start taking shape from now on, Dr. Sivan told The Hindu. “ Gaganyaan-related activities are in full swing,” he said, under the newly formed Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) and a dedicated team.

Gaganyaan was announced on August 15, 2018 as a marquee mission for the 75th year of Independence. It is slated to take place at a ‘near-Earth’ distance of 400 km.

Before that, two unmanned trial flights with human-friendly capsules are to be flown in 2020, carrying a few micro-gravity experiments.

Dr. Sivan said ISRO recently submitted to the IAF a set of requirements on selecting and training prospective Indian space travellers. The IAF would come back with details of its facilities. “In order to have three flight-ready finalists as crew, we need to give astronaut training to at least ten [eligible] persons,” he said.

The astronauts will be mainly trained at the IAF’s Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Bengaluru.