Former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair has advocated India seek American or Russian support for astronaut training and space-environment simulation facilities to carry out the manned mission within the 2022 time frame.
India setting up its own training and simulation facilities would take a lot of time, the veteran space scientist opined.
Nair hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on the manned mission during his Independence Day address, terming it as a logical next step for India’s space programme.
“We have been dreaming about this for the last 10 years, and now the prime minister has taken a very bold decision. It would kickstart a whole new set of activities in the ISRO centres. More than that, it’s a matter of national pride. We will have our own spacecraft to send people to the orbit and back. So, it’s a great initiative and a most welcome thing,” he told PTI.
The basic design made for the space capsule is for carrying three people. GSLV-Mk III has got a capacity to carry such a module, Nair said.
“Of course, we have to do lot of things — training of astronauts, make and use life support systems, among others. It is a very challenging job,” he added.
“Simulation facilities for space environment if we wait for them to come will take time. We may have to depend on some friendly countries like Russia and America for the initial mission”, he said.
Life support system and conditioning of astronauts for the space environment is one of the key technological challenges, said Nair.
The overall reliability of the launch vehicle needs to be improved. “Necessary improvement in launch systems and satellite technologies is called for,” he said.
Asked about the 2022 time frame for the mission as announced by the prime minister, Nair said: “It is tight but if you decouple the setting up of facilities in India, certainly it’s doable.”