The Union Cabinet has approved the Gaganyaan project to send a three-member crew to space for at least seven days, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Friday. The proposed mission is expected to cost around Rs 10,000 crore.
The Gaganyaan project was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech this year. He had said the mission would be undertaken by 2022.
While the first human space flight demonstration is targeted to be completed within 40 months from the date of sanction, two unmanned flights will be carried out before that.
“The total fund requirement for the Gaganyaan programme is within Rs 10,000 crore and includes cost of technology development, flight hardware realisation and essential infrastructure elements. Two unmanned flights and one manned flight will be undertaken as part of the programme,” said a government statement.
Over the years, ISRO built up capabilities
An Indian manned mission to space was first mooted way back in 2004. Until Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on this year’s Independence Day, there was no clarity when the mission would take place. But over the years, the Indian Space Research Organisation had been building up its technological capabilities and preparing itself for the mission. In the last few years, it has developed and tested a number of technologies that are critical to a human space flight. These include a re-entry and recovery technology for spacecraft, the cryogenic engine so essential to power rockets that can carry 5 to 6 tonnes payload into space, and the life support system within the spacecraft. Several more tests still need to be carried out. But a human test flight just seems to be the next logical progression for ISRO, which has done successful missions to the moon and Mars, and has another mission to the moon planned for early next year along with an exploratory mission to the sun.
“The necessary infrastructure for crew training, realisation of flight systems and ground infrastructure will be established to support the Gaganyaan programme. ISRO will collaborate extensively with national agencies, laboratories, academia and industry to accomplish the Gaganyaan programme objectives,” it said.
“The human spaceflight programme will provide a unique micro-gravity platform in space for conducting experiments and test bed for future technologies. The programme is expected to give impetus to economic activities within the country in terms of employment generation, human resource development and enhanced industrial capabilities,” said the statement.