In a first, the Bengaluru centre of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has begun working on designing the space agency’s own spacesuit, as part of its Gaganyaan project, space educator and Member of UN Space Generation Advisory Council, Austria, Apurva Jakhadi said on Monday.
Gaganyaan is a screwed orbital spacecraft, India’s maiden human space flight programme announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day speech this year. Modi had said that three astronauts will be sent to space for seven days and set a 2022 deadline for the project.
“Earlier there were orange spacesuits which NASA had also used but now India has started designing its own suit. A spacesuit typically costs around a billion dollars since it ensures that the human body doesn’t disintegrate in outer space,” Jakhadi said. She was speaking as part of a guest lecture series organised by students of Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute, Matunga.
Outlining ISRO’s future projects, she said that 50 missions have been planned for the next three years, of which the soft landing of Chandrayaan-2 on the lunar surface of the Moon on September 7 will be a major milestone.
Apart from this, Aditya L1 (2019-2020) will aim to study the Sun’s surface.
“When the spacecraft goes into the vicinity of the Sun, it has to withstand the flaring temperature. It is going to be challenging but the work on it has begun,” Jakhadi said.
Last year, the ISRO had a technical demonstration of reusable rockets, and reusable technology is a focus of the space agency.
Jakhadi said that aeronautics (building aircraft) and astronautics (building space vehicles) were core branches of engineering looked upon as the future of space technology, further supported by the emergence of space tourism. Exhorting students to consider these branches as career options, she shared that there is a shortfall on engineers in these fields.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Jakhadi said, presently, the United Nations is working on evolving space laws for countries across the globe in order to ensure meticulous utilisation of resources on the Moon. “The Moon is not a territory of a particular country or continent. Each country follows the objectives outlined by its space agency, but the UN certainly supersedes them and needs to ensure that all follow uniform rules,” she said.