India’s maiden human space mission “Gaganyaan” will be launched in 2023, Minister for Science & Technology Jitendra Singh said today.
In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, he said that with this launch, India will become the fourth nation in the world to launch a human spaceflight mission after the US, Russia and China.
Jitendra Singh said that the major missions like Test vehicle flight for the validation of Crew Escape System performance and the 1st uncrewed mission of Gaganyaan (G1) are scheduled during the beginning of the second half of 2022. This will be followed by a second uncrewed mission at the end of 2022 carrying “Vyommitra” a spacefaring human robot developed by ISRO and finally the first crewed Gaganyaan mission in 2023.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address in 2018, wherein he said that an Indian astronaut, be it a man or a woman, will go on a space odyssey by 2022 onboard ‘Gaganyaan’, the minister said the programme got slightly delayed due to COVID restrictions, but preparations are now in full swing to achieve the mission by 2023.
He said the objective of the Gaganyaan programme is to demonstrate the capability to send humans to low earth orbit (LEO) onboard an Indian Launch Vehicle and bring them back to earth safely.
Jitendra Singh said that more than 500 Industries are involved in the launch of Gaganyaan with several research modules, including indigenous health research modules. He said this was made possible as for the first time in 70 years, the sector has been unlocked for private participation to make India a competitive space market.
The Minister informed that this is the most ambitious space programme undertaken by ISRO till date and it will give a big boost to the Science and Technology development within the country, besides inspiring the Youth and Start-ups to take up bigger challenges and enhance the prestige of the country.