The duration of India’s proposed maiden manned space mission in 2021-2022 and the number of astronauts who will be on board are yet to be decided, an ISRO official said on Wednesday.
“No decision has been taken yet on the number of days our first manned mission Gaganyaan will orbit the earth and how many astronauts will fly,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Sivan told reporters here.
The clarification came a day after the media reported that Gaganyaan will orbit the earth for seven days and two male and a female astronauts will form the crew, following Sivan’s briefing on the manned mission in New Delhi on Tuesday. Pointing out that the agency will be able to send up to three Indians in space for up to a week, Sivan said that the numbers and duration of space journey will be decided later. The space agency is aiming to launch the mission to take Indian astronauts 350-400km above earth by December 2021, after the two unmanned missions in December 2020 and June 2021.
“Critical technologies for the manned mission are already developed. We are in the process of developing a project team for the human space programme,” Sivan added.
The Indian Air Force will take the responsibility of selecting the Indian astronauts. For their further training, ISRO will seek the expertise of space agencies of either Russia, US or Germany, Sivan said. “Seeking the expertise of other countries avoids learning through trial and error,” he added. The human space mission is expected to generate 15,000 jobs through the involvement of industry and academia, Sivan had earlier said.