4 astronauts identified for Mission Gaganyaan: Isro chief K Sivan

Isro chief K Sivan briefed reporters in Bengaluru on the progress of the Gaganyaan and Chandrayaan-3 projects. Here’s what he said.

Four astronauts have been identified for India’s upcoming Gaganyaan mission, India’s space agency Isro said today.

The training of astronauts will begin in the third week of January in Russia, Isro chief K Sivan told reporters in Bengaluru.

Gaganyaan is a crewed orbital spacecraft intended to send astronauts to space for a minimum of seven days by 2022, as part of the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme. Last year, Isro had said it wanted woman astronauts to be part of the mission.

K Sivan said today that many of Gaganyaan’s systems needed to be tested, and that crew training would be a major activity this year.

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K Sivan also said India’s next moon mission, Chandrayaan-3, had been approved. He said the launch may shift to next year. (Union Minister Jitendra Singh said yesterday India would launch Chandrayaan-3 in 2020.)

The ongoing moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, has been largely successful — but the Vikram lander failed to soft-land on the Moon in September. Nasa recently published images of debris at the crash site, with help from a Chennai techie.

K Sivan congratulated the young man, Shanmuga Subramaniam, and said it was Isro’s policy not to release the picture of the crashed module.

“We know where it crashed and where it is located,” he said.

Sivan also pointed out that the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter was still functioning, and said it would continue to provide data for seven years.

Like the Chandrayaan-2 mission, Chandrayaan-3 will have a lander, a rover and a propulsion module, he said.

The cost of the project would be Rs 250 crore, K Sivan said.

India to have its own Space Station

K. Sivan, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently announced that the country is planning to launch its own space station and modalities for it will be worked out after Gaganyaan Mission (India’s maiden manned mission to space).

Key Highlights

Mastering Technology: Although ISRO made announcement of space station recently but it has been quietly working on a key technology such as space docking & berthing technology for which it has also got Rs.10 crore sanctioned earlier. Once the agency will master this technology it will help join two separate free-flying space vehicles and also transfer materials and humans from one another that will enable this future space station and is also the key for a space station.

Extension: India’s space station project will be an extension of Gaganyaan Mission, which involves sending three Indian astronauts to space for 7 days in lower earth orbit (of 120-400 km). The government has already approved a cost of Rs.10,000 crore for Gaganyaan mission. Before the maiden flight with crew sometime in August 2022, there would be two unmanned (without crew) flights from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

The detailed project report on setting up India’s space station will also be submitted to government after Gaganyaan.

No Collaboration: India will not be collaborating with any other country for its space station project. United States (US), Russia, China and a consortium of nations that own the International Space Station (ISS) are the only countries that have had space stations so far. After its successful launch India would become 4th country to launch a space station.


The proposed space station is anticipated to weigh about 20 tonnes, it would be placed in an orbit 400 km above earth and will serve as a facility where astronauts can stay for upto 15-20 days in space.

India is targeting 2030 as the date to launch country’s space station which will most likely be used to conduct microgravity experiments.

It is one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by India.

What is a space station?

It is a spacecraft that designed to remain in space for an extended period of time and can be used for other spacecraft to dock as well as capable of supporting crew members, the most commonly known being the International Space Station (ISS).

International Space Station: It is a habitable artificial satellite in low earth orbit (LEO). It is the largest human-made body in LEO that completes multiple orbits around Earth every day thus can often be seen with the naked eye from Earth. Its first component was launched into orbit in 1998 and since then it has been inhabited continuously.


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