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ISRO’s Human space flight program: The journey of Gaganyaan

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Introduction to Gaganyaan: India’s First Manned Space Mission

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has embarked on a historic journey with its first human space flight program, Gaganyaan. This mission is a significant milestone in India’s space exploration history and has garnered attention worldwide.

The Gaganyaan Mission: A Leap for Indian Space Exploration

Gaganyaan, a mission designed to send a three-member crew to space for a period of five to seven days, was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018. The mission aims to place the spacecraft in a low earth orbit of 300–400 kilometres. The total program cost is expected to be under Rs.10,000 crore.

The Significance of Gaganyaan

The success of Gaganyaan will not only highlight India’s capability in the field of space science and technology but also pave the way for more advanced spaceflight missions. It will also boost India’s dream of setting up its own space station.

The Gaganyaan Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle

The spacecraft for this mission consists of a service module and a crew module, collectively known as the Orbital Module. The launch vehicle used for this mission will be the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle GSLV Mk III, which has the required payload capacity for the mission.

The Journey of Gaganyaan’s Human Space Flight

The human spaceflight is expected to take about 16 minutes to reach the intended low earth orbit. The astronauts will be able to see sunrise and sunset, see India from space every 24 hours, and will also perform experiments in microgravity. The spacecraft will take about 36 hours for the return journey and will land in the Arabian Sea off the Gujarat coast.

Training for the Astronauts

ISRO has signed a contract with a subsidiary of ROSCOSMOS (the Russian space agency), called Gavkosmos for preparing the Indian astronauts selected for the mission. The astronaut candidates will also be trained in simulations in a centrifuge and in a hyperbaric chamber (pressurized room) to prepare them for conditions like G-force, hypoxia and pressure drops during spaceflight.

Gaganyaan’s Unmanned Missions

Before the human space flight mission, two unmanned missions are planned. These missions will test crucial technologies such as crew escape system, re-entry mission capability, thermal protection system, crew module configuration, deceleration and flotation system, and subsystems of life support systems.

FAQs

What is Gaganyaan?

Gaganyaan is a mission by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to send a three-member crew to space for a period of five to seven days. It is India’s first human space flight programme.

Which countries collaborated on the Gaganyaan mission?

The space agencies of India and France signed an agreement for cooperation for Gaganyaan. France has a well-established mechanism for space medicine and has the MEDES space clinic, a subsidiary of CNES, where space surgeons undergo training.

Which launch vehicle will be used for Gaganyaan?

The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle GSLV Mk III, a three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle, will be used to launch Gaganyaan.

When is the Gaganyaan mission scheduled?

The mission was initially targeted for 2022. However, due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the launch is now expected by the end of 2024 or early 2025.

What are the objectives of the Gaganyaan mission?

The mission aims to demonstrate India’s capability to send humans to low earth orbit and return them safely. It also aims to establish a broader framework for collaboration in space technology and science.

Who are the astronauts for the Gaganyaan mission?

The astronauts, all of whom are pilots from the Indian Air Force, were shortlisted from about 25 candidates. They are currently undergoing extensive training in Russia and India.

What are the key technologies developed for the Gaganyaan mission?

ISRO has developed crucial technologies such as a crew escape system, re-entry mission capability, thermal protection system, crew module configuration, deceleration and flotation system, and subsystems of life support systems for the Gaganyaan mission.

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