ISRO to Launch 2 Gaganyaan Mission in 2023: Union Minister

ISRO 2 Gaganyaan Mission

The ISRO will launch two initial mission later this year under the Gaganyaan program followed by the country’s maiden human space-flight mission in 2024, Union Minister Jitendra Singh has said.

The second part of the 2023 mission will carry a female robot “Vyommitra” to space, the science and technology minister said.

In an interview, Mt Singh said these missions were envisaged to be launched in the 75th year of Indian independence, but due to the emergence of COVID-19, these programs were delayed by two to three years.

“The then ongoing training of our astronauts in Russia was stopped midway due to the pandemic,” he said, adding that they sent back to complete their training once the situation subsided.

“In the second half of this year, two initial missions will sent under the Gaganyaan program. One mission will completely unmanned and a female robot named ‘Vyommitra’ will sent in the second one,” Mr. Singh said.

These missions will complete the whole process, he added.

The union minister said the purpose of these two missions is to ensure that the Gaganyaan rocket returns safely from the same route it took off. “After this, next year a man of Indian origin will go to space.” He said Rakesh Sharma, an Indian citizen, has already to space, but that mission launched by Soviet Russia, whereas Gaganyaan is an Indian mission.

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“Gaganyaan mission will be the best example of self-reliant India. It will prove to be a milestone in the history of India’s space travel,” he added.

In his Independence Day address in 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Gaganyaan mission, which will cost Rs 10,000 crore.

ISRO also intends to launch the Chandrayaan-3 moon mission in June of next year. It is the successor mission to the Chandrayaan-2 mission, which crashed and landed on the moon’s surface.

Mr. Singh responded to a question about the status of Aditya L1, a mission to study the Sun, by saying, “Preparations are going well. This will be the first mission of its kind to conduct research and study on the Sun’s atmosphere, environment, and all aspects of it. He claimed that India’s space journey began late because, by the time the country began to consider this goal, the United States and the former Soviet Union were preparing to land their citizens on the moon.

According to the minister, Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided a few years ago to open the space sector to public-private partnerships to improve India’s research and bring it up to par with America and Russia.

Mr. Singh said today there are more than 130 startups in this sector and the private sector is launching rockets, giving “momentum to the space sector and encouragement and prestige to the scientists.” He said that today satellites of Europe and America sent into space from India’s launching pads and ISRO earned more than USD 56 million by launching American satellites alone.

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