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Business News/ Science / News/  India’s first astronaut on Moon by...: ISRO chief Somanath unveils space plans post Chandrayaan-3
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India’s first astronaut on Moon by...: ISRO chief Somanath unveils space plans post Chandrayaan-3

After the historic success of Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission, the Indian Space Research Organisation plans to send Indian astronauts for the first time to the Moon by 2040

ISRO Chairman S Somanath says Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set the ambitious goal of commissioning 'Bharatiya Antariksha Station’ by 2035. (HT_PRINT)Premium
ISRO Chairman S Somanath says Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set the ambitious goal of commissioning 'Bharatiya Antariksha Station’ by 2035. (HT_PRINT)

After the historic success of the Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to send Indian astronauts for the first time to the Moon by 2040. 

ISRO Chairman S Somanath said four pilots from the Indian Air Force have been selected for the mission, and they are undergoing training at the Astronaut Training Facility in Bengaluru.

Gaganyaan Mission

The Bengaluru-based space agency is planning to launch a crew of two to three Indian astronauts into Low Earth Orbit for up to three days and bring them back safely to a predefined site in Indian waters as part of the Gaganyaan programme, an article in Manorama Yearbook 2024 said citing the Isro chairman.

“Looking ahead, ISRO aims to take the next step in space exploration with the Gaganyaan programme, planning to launch a crew of 2 to 3 Indian astronauts into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for up to three days before safely returning them to a predefined site in Indian waters," the article quoted Somanath as saying.

Ahead of the manned mission, the space agency is planning to send two identical un-crewed missions (G1 & G2) besides Integrated Air Drop Test, Pad Abort Test, and Test Vehicle flights.

ISRO is also developing critical technologies like a human-rated (capable of safely transporting humans) launch vehicle (HLVM3), an Orbital Module comprising a Crew Module (CM) and Service Module (SM), besides life support systems for the Gaganyaan mission.

The Crew Module is a habitable space with an Earth-like environment in space for the crew and is designed for safe re-entry. Safety measures also include a Crew Escape System (CES) for emergencies.

Gaganyaan Test Flight

ISRO launched the first development flight of Test Vehicle (TV-D1) on October 21, 2023. The test vehicle successfully demonstrated in-flight abort of the Crew Escape System, followed by Crew Module separation. The Crew Module was safely recovered from the Bay of Bengal by the Indian Navy.

“The success of this test flight was crucial for subsequent unmanned missions and the ultimate human space mission, expected to be launched in 2025," Somanath said.

Other upcoming missions

Referring to some ambitious ongoing and upcoming missions, Somanath said ISRO is currently working on Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) programme, X-ray astronomy mission XPOSAT (X-ray Polarimeter Satellite), Space Docking Experiment, and LOX-Methane engine.

“Together, these transformative initiatives define a new space saga in India's pursuit of space exploration, fostering scientific progress and an ever-expanding cosmic horizon."

Elaborating, he said SSLV, a three-stage launch vehicle, can launch a 500-kg satellite into 500-km planar orbit and can accommodate multiple satellites.

Bharatiya Antariksha Station

Somanath said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set ambitious goals such as commissioning ‘Bharatiya Antariksha Station’ (Indian Space Station) by 2035, and embarking on interplanetary exploration, featuring a Venus Orbiter Mission and a Mars Lander, to further solidify India's presence on the global space stage.

Solar Exploratory Mission

The ISRO chairman further said India’s maiden solar exploratory mission Aditya L1 is also an important mission of the space organisation. The Aditya mission aims to study the sun from the unique vantage point of Lagrange Point 1, showcasing the country’s prowess in both lunar and solar research.

Launched on September 2, the spacecraft is on its intended path towards Sun-Earth Lagrange Point 1(L1), approximately 1.5 million km from Earth, where it will be inserted into a Halo orbit in January 2024, the ISRO chairman added.

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Published: 12 Dec 2023, 06:36 PM IST
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