The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has set up a Human Space Flight Center to launch the country’s maiden manned mission into space by 2021. The centre will be in charge of all human-related programme at the ISRO, including the Gaganyaan project, that will send three astronauts to orbit the earth. The Indian Space Research Organisation as a part of the Gaganyaan project plans to send astronauts to the International Space Station and eventually the moon. ISRO is already working on this human project of sending humans to space by 2022. The centre will help ISRO to organise its first human spaceflight programme in a better way. Also, the Union Government has approved Rs. 10,000 crore for the Gaganyaan project in order to develop technologies for this first human mission and to start work on a larger programme.
“Gaganyaan is the beginning and we won’t stop here. We will continue the programme and send people to the International Space Station and the moon”, said K. Sivan, Chairman of the ISRO.
On Friday, Sivan named Unnikrishnan Nair, who led its Advanced Space Transportation Programme at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, as the director of the new centre. Dr Nair has already been involved in this Human Space Flight Project for few years as director. ISRO R. Hutton, who has helmed the PSLV light-lift vehicle programme is appointed as the project director in that set-up.
But, Dr K. Sivan said they were yet to decide on the number of astronauts for the Gaganyaan mission. This human space flight Centre will also be responsible for setting up India’s future Astronaut training facility. Likely to be named as the Astronaut Training and Biomedical Engineering Centre, the facility will be developed on ISRO land in Devanahalli and is expected to resemble the one in Russia. It will be spread across 40-50 acres.
” Gaganyaan is our highest priority right now. We have put in a management structure to realise it. The human space flight Centre (based in Bengaluru) will carry out all activities related to the human programme. Under it will function the Gaganyaan project, Dr K Sivan explained.
“The year 2019 has started with a big bang with Gaganyaan getting the government’s approval and budget for putting their astronauts in space for seven days,” Dr Sivan said. The astronauts will orbit Earth from an orbit 400 km away”, he added.
This project according to Sivan will be a major turning point for ISRO, expanding its activities beyond the engineering activities of launchers and satellites. The heavy-lift launch vehicle GSLV Mark III, which got operational in November will have two non-crew flight in December 2020 and July 2021. The actual flight with the crew is scheduled to happen by December 2021 in order to meet the Prime Minister’s goal of August 2022, India’s 75th year of independence.
Furthermore, India’s Moon mission Chandrayaan-2 is also planned to be launched by mid-April at a cost of about Rs 800 crore.
Source: The Times of India