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India's First Indigenous Space Mission

Published: 4th Mar, 2024

Context

Group Captains PrasanthBalakrishnan Nair, Ajit Krishnan and AngadPratap, and Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla carry on their shoulders the aspirations of 1.4 billion Indians as preparations for the country’s first manned space mission gather steam.

Dimension 1: Significance of Gaganyaan Mission

Gaganyaan mission is not only a scientific and technological endeavor, but also a national and global aspiration. The mission has a significant role to play in various aspects, such as:

  • Enhancing India’s Scientific and Technological Capabilities: Gaganyaan mission will provide valuable data and insights on various phenomena such as microgravity, radiation, human physiology, etc.
  • Inspiring Young Generations: Gaganyaan mission will inspire young generations to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
  • Contributing to Global Space Cooperation: The mission will demonstrate India’s commitment and capability to participate in international space endeavors such as the International Space Station (ISS), the Artemis program, the Lunar Gateway, etc.
  • Boosting India’s Prestige and Soft Power: Gaganyaan mission will boost India’s prestige and soft power in the international arena as a space-faring nation. It will also enhance India’s image and influence in global affairs.
  • Generating Social and Economic Benefits: It will generate social and economic benefits for India, such as creating jobs, improving education, health care, agriculture, disaster management, and environmental protection.

Fact Box: The Elite Group

  • The Gaganyaan Mission will take India into an elite club of nations to have successfully sent their astronauts to space using indigenous rockets.
  • The United States, Russia and China are the only other countries to have achieved this feat.
  • The success of the Gaganyaan Mission will further elevate the status of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which has had back-to-back achievements recently in the form of the Chandrayaan Mission to the moon and the Aditya L-1 Mission to study the sun.

About Gaganyaan Mission

  • Gaganyaan literally means ‘celestial vehicle’.
  • The spacecraft will carry the IAF pilots to an orbit of 400 km on a three-day mission before bringing them back safely with a landing in the Indian seawaters.

Fact Box

The endeavour will come four decades after the first Indian, Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma (retired), ventured into space in 1984 as part of a Soviet mission.

  • The Gaganyaan mission aims to demonstrate the capability to launch human beings (three crew members) to low earth orbit (LEO) and bring them back safely to earth by landing them in either the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea.
  • Launch Vehicles: The Launch Vehicle Mark-3 (LVM3)is the launch vehicle for the Gaganyaan mission.

Composition of the Mission

The mission consists of four test flights, including two uncrewed flights and one flight with a humanoid robot, before the final crewed flight.

  • Flight Test Vehicle Abort Mission-1 (TV-D1): The first test flight, called Flight Test Vehicle Abort Mission-1 (TV-D1), was successfully launched in October 2023, to demonstrate the crew escape system that can protect the astronauts in case of a rocket malfunction.
  • Flight Test Vehicle Abort Mission-2 (TV-D2): The second test flight, called Flight Test Vehicle Abort Mission-2 (TV-D2), will be launched in 2024 to test the orbital module and re-entry technologies.

Fact Box: Vyommitra

  • Vyommitrais a female-looking humanoid robot, to space.
  • The robot is capable of monitoring module parameters, sending out alerts, and carrying out life support functions.
  • Vyommitra: The third test flight, called Flight Test Vehicle Abort Mission-3 (TV-D3), will be launched in 2024 with a humanoid robot named Vyommitra that will simulate human functions and communicate with the ground station.
  • Astronauts: The fourth and final test flight, called Flight Test Vehicle Abort Mission-4 (TV-D4), will be launched in 2025 with three astronauts on board.

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