Home / Science / News /  ISRO to launch first test flight of Gaganyaan in February 2023

India is inching closer to its dream of launching a human space mission with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) planning to start a series of test flights for its Gaganyaan mission in February 2023. The director of ISRO's Human Space Flight Centre, R Umamaheshwaran, informed that the space agency plans to deploy the heavy-lift Chinook helicopter and the C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft for testing the crew module which will carry the astronauts as part of the mission.

ISRO plans an unmanned test flight in December next year but will conduct around 17 different tests before that.

The agency has completed the design of the Environment Control System, which will ensure ambient living conditions for the astronauts while on the mission, R Umamaheshwaran said while addressing the Indian Space Congress in New Delhi.

He added that the design of the Environment Control System was challenging because the agency had to ensure that the astronauts feel comfortable during the re-entry phase when the temperatures outside the crew module could reach 2000 degrees Celsius.

"The crew module, where the astronauts are supposed to sit and fly, is completed and the fabrication work is on. Within six months, we will get the crew module," he said on the sidelines of the event organized by the SatCom Industry Association.

The Environment Control System, which is designed indigenously, is one of the most critical elements of the project as it ensures the safety and ambient living conditions for the astronauts on the mission.

"We have to provide oxygen, remove carbon dioxide, remove humidity, maintain temperature and also ensure there is no fire hazard. This is a very complex technology that no country would give us," he said.

"We have the capability to design, so we are doing that and that only is taking a little bit of time. We have completed all the designs and now is the time to prove that whatever has been designed is safe enough. That is the entire effort," Umamaheshwaran added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Gaganyaan Mission in 2018, during his Independence Day speech, with the target of achieving the mission by 2022. Due to the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-21, the speed of the project was hampered and now the space agency aims to launch the project by end of 2024 or beginning of 2025.

The four astronauts for the mission have completed their initial training in Russia and are currently undergoing further training at the Astronaut Training Facility in Bengaluru.

With inputs from PTI

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