Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day address from the ramparts of Red Fort on Wednesday, said the country will see an Indian on a space mission under an indigenous space project called ‘Gaganyaan‘ before 2022. This was Modi’s last Independence Day speech ahead of general elections and as PM in the current tenure.
Modi said when India celebrates 75th year of Independence in 2022, “and if possible even before, an Indian son or daughter” will undertake a manned space mission on board ‘Gaganyaan‘ “carrying the national flag”.
‘Gaganyaan’ will be the first manned space mission launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). If India does launch the Gaganyaan mission, it will be the fourth nation to do so after the United States, Russia and China.
India had launched its first lunar probe Chandrayaan-1 in October 2008 and operated it until August 2009. The major achievement of Chandrayaan-1 was the discovery of widespread presence of water molecules in lunar soil. The mission, which was supposed to last for two years, was suspended in just 312 days. However, the scientists at ISRO had claimed that the mission had achieved 95 per cent of its goals before they lost touch with it.
ISRO will launch Chandrayaan-2 in the January-March window of 2019. The mission was supposed to be launched this year but it was postponed following design changes in the spacecraft for its safe landing on the lunar surface.
ISRO had launched its Mars probe Mangalyaan or the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)on September 24, 2014. The spacecraft specific search for methane in the Martian atmosphere will provide information about the possibility or the past existence of life on the planet.