The Gaganyaan Mission is a project headed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Three Indian astronauts—one of them a woman—are to spend three days in space as part of this mission.
For five to seven days, the astronauts will orbit the Earth at a height of 300 to 400 kilometres.
India will become the fourth country to launch a manned space mission as a result of the program.
The Gaganyaan Mission seeks to:
Construct a spacecraft that can support human habitation
Show that humans are capable of space travel.
Emergency Landing in Indian sea waters
The mission will take place in 2025.
ISRO carried out a test flight for the Gaganyaan Mission on October 21, 2023.
The Flight Test Vehicle Abort Mission-1 was another name for the test flight.
What is the historical background behind Gaganyaan?
First Indian in Space (1984): Indian Air Force pilot Rakesh Sharma’s historic voyage marked the beginning of India’s human spaceflight program. He was the first citizen of Indian descent to visit space in 1984. Under the “Interkosmos” program, Sharma flew on the Soviet Soyuz T-11 spacecraft for this mission.
Technological Studies and Early Concepts (2006): In 2006, the first research and development of technology for an Indian program aimed at human spaceflight was initiated. Up to this point, it was called the “Orbital Vehicle.”
Government Approved Funding (2009): In February 2009, the Indian government formally approved funding for the Indian Human Spaceflight Program. This was an important step in making the idea a reality.
Funding Challenges (2012–2013): The program’s future was questionable due to funding problems and changing objectives. Due to a lack of money for development, the orbital vehicle’s first unmanned flight was originally scheduled for 2013.
Reconsidered Program (2014): At the beginning of 2014, the Indian government reassessed and reaffirmed its commitment to the program of human spaceflight. In February 2014, a large budget increase was declared.
Official Announcement (2018): In his Independence Day speech to the country in 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the formal announcement that the human spaceflight program has been approved.
Present Design and Crew Size (2018): The program’s current design, which asks for a crew of three astronauts, represents a major change in the objectives and design of the program.
Important Tests and Milestones (2014–2023): The program has completed several important tests, such as a pad abort test in 2018 and a successful re-entry test in 2014, in addition to continuing engine and system certification testing. These experiments show that the program is making headway toward its objective of launching Indian astronauts into space.
What is the spacecraft and vehicle that is going to be used by the Gaganyaan?
Spacecraft (Orbital Vehicle): Built specifically to fulfil the requirements of the Gaganyaan program, the spacecraft is responsible for transporting humans into space and safely returning them to Earth. The spacecraft’s details are as follows:
Crew Module: The spaceship has a crew module that can accommodate three people. To give the astronauts a secure and livable environment during their trip, it is outfitted with environmental control and life support equipment.
Emergency Systems: To protect the astronauts in the event of a rocket failure during launch, the crew module is outfitted with a Crew Escape System (CES) and an emergency mission abort system.
Re-entry and Recovery: The spacecraft can land, usually in the Bay of Bengal, where it can be recovered, thanks to its design, which allows it to safely reenter Earth’s atmosphere.
Experiments in Biology and Science: The Gaganyaan mission intends to carry out several studies, including experiments in biology and physical science. Space exploration and scientific inquiry are aided by these experiments.
Launch Vehicle (Rocket): The spacecraft is launched into orbit by the launch vehicle, also known as the rocket. The launch vehicle utilized for Gaganyaan is the LVM3 (Launch Vehicle Mark-3), often referred to as the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III). The needs of manned spaceflight are intended to be met by this heavy-lift launch vehicle.
Crewed Variant: The “HLVM3” (Human-rated Launch Vehicle Mark-3) is a human-rated variant of the GSLV Mk III that is utilized for Gaganyaan missions. This version is ready to launch humans into space safely.
Core Stage: The rocket’s core stage generates the thrust required to enter Earth’s orbit using a cryogenic engine called CE-20.
Solid Strap-On Boosters: For the Gaganyaan program, a human-rated version of the S200 solid strap-on boosters, known as “HS200,” has been created. During the launch, these boosters provide extra thrust.
Who are the crew members selected for the mission?
Four Indian Air Force pilots have been chosen by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to be the first group of astronauts for the Gaganyaan mission. “Vyomnauts” is the term given to the astronauts.
The Indian Air Force and ISRO jointly devised selection criteria that were used to choose the astronauts from a pool of test pilots. The standards consist of:
Experience flying Fitness
Aeromedical and psychological assessment
The parameters of anthropometry
The astronauts are going through simulations and schoolwork right now.
Which are the countries collaborating with India for this mission?
Astronaut Training: As part of the Gaganyaan program, Indian astronauts, or cosmonauts, have been receiving training and assistance from Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos. Sessions on space operations, survival techniques, and other crucial facets of spaceflight are covered in this training.
What is the role of the Indian Navy in this mission?
Crew Module Recovery: The TV-D1 mission’s crew module plummeted and touched down in the Bay of Bengal after separating from the launch vehicle. This crew module was recovered from the water by the Indian Navy.
Search and Recovery: The crew module was located and securely removed from the water using the tools and troops of the Indian Navy. The module had to be located and secured, which required the deployment of navy warships and trained people.
Safe Handling and Transport: Following the crew module’s rescue, the Indian Navy made sure it was handled and transported safely. To prevent harm to the module, they usually employ specialist staff and equipment for such recovery operations.
Transportation to Chennai Port: The crew module was shipped to the port of Chennai, where ISRO received it. Equipment and freight related to space travel back to this port frequently.
Security and Safety: The crew module’s security and safety are guaranteed by the Indian Navy’s participation in the recovery effort. They are equipped with the knowledge and resources needed to handle and move priceless equipment safely.
What is the Vyommitra?
The Indian Space Research Organization created Vyommitra, a half-humanoid robot with a feminine appearance (ISRO). The robot made its debut at the Human Spaceflight and Exploration symposium in Bengaluru in January 2020.
Vyoma (space) and Mitra (friend) are two Sanskrit terms that are combined to form Vyommitra. The robot is intended to operate on the crewed orbiting spaceship Gaganyaan.
Vyommitra can carry out duties like:
Operating switch panels
Serving as a companion to astronauts
Engaging in conversations
Responding to astronauts’ inquiries
Vyommitra is intended to communicate with the life support system and mimic human functions in a space environment. She is also capable of interacting with the ISRO base stations and reading control panels on unmanned test flights.