In his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister announced that India will attempt a manned mission into space by 2022 on board ‘Gaganyaan’.
- The Indian first manned mission will carry 2 or 3 astronauts to space for at least 7 days.
- The manned mission will travel to space on board GSLV Mark III vehicle.
- A new dedicated control centre providing Telemetry, Tracking and Command (TTC) services for ‘Gaganyaan’ would be set up at ISTRAC, Bangalore.
- ISRO, Indian Air Force and Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Bengaluru, will train the astronauts.
- If successful, India would be the fourth nation to send manned mission after the Russia, USA and China.
Key Technologies and their Status
The most critical elements of the human mission are
- Crew Module – GSLV Mk-III:
- The crew module carrying human beings will weigh about 5 to 6 tonnes.
- GSLV Mk-III with an indigenous cryogenic engine is capable of delivering heavier payloads deeper into space.
- In 2014, ISRO successfully tested an experimental flight of GSLX Mk-III
- In June 2017, ISRO successfully launched the first “developmental” flight of GSLV Mk-III carrying GSAT-19 satellite into space.
- In June 2018, the government approved Rs 4,338.2 crore for the next 10 flights of GSLV Mk-III.
- Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry technology – CARE:
- Satellites that are launched for communication or remote sensing are meant to remain in space.
- However, a manned spacecraft needs to come back.
- While reentering Earth’s atmosphere, the spacecraft needs to withstand very high temperatures created due to friction.
- A prior critical experiment was carried out in 2014 along with GSLV MK-III when the CARE (Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment) capsule successfully demonstrated that it could survive atmospheric re-entry.
- Crew Escape System – PAT:
- The Crew Escape System is an emergency accident avoidance measure designed to quickly get astronauts and their spacecraft away from the launch vehicle if a malfunction occurs during the initial stage of the launch.
- In July 2018, ISRO completed the first successful flight ‘pad abort test’ or Crew Escape System.
- Environmental Control & Life Support System ECLSS:
- The crew module carrying human beings must have conditions inside suitable for humans to live comfortably.
- ECLSS will
- Maintain steady cabin pressure and air composition
- Remove carbon dioxide and other harmful gases
- Control temperature and humidity
- Manage parameters like fire detection and suppression
- The layout, design and configuration of ECLSS inside the crew module have been finalised.