India is moving ahead to meet its target of sending a man to space by December 2021, announced ISRO chairman K Sivan Saturday. Addressing the eighth convocation of IIT, Bhubaneswar, Sivan said, “By December 2021 the first Indian will be carried out, by our own rocket, to space. This is our target, everybody at ISRO is working on that.”
ISRO’s ambitious Gaganyaan project aims to send a three-member crew to space for at least seven days. The project was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 2018 Independence Day speech.
While the project to send an Indian into space will be carried out by 2021, the Indian space agency aims to carry two unmanned flights before that.
“By December 2020, we will have our first unmanned mission of human spaceplane. The second unmanned human space plane, we target for July 2021,” the space chief was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
The Gaganyaan mission is extremely important for India as it will boost the science and technology capability of the country, Sivan said.
If India does launch the Gaganyaan mission, it will be the fourth nation to do so after the United States, Russia and China. The mission is estimated to cost around Rs 10,000 crore.
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Speaking about the Chandrayaan-2 mission, the space agency chief said that the orbiter will provide data for more than seven-and-a-half years. He said except the soft landing part, everything with Chandrayaan-2 went as planned.
Earlier this month, the Indian Air Force had said that it had completed the first level of selecting astronauts for the Gaganyaan mission from its pool of test pilots. According to the Air force, the pilots underwent necessary physical exercise tests, lab investigations, radiological tests, clinical tests and evaluation on various aspects of their psychology.
(With PTI inputs)