Somanath: Gaganyaan module needs to be perfect, can’t leave to chance

Somanath also gave an update on the four select astronauts who will be part of the crew module.
ISRO Chairman S Somanath addresses the gathering at a programme in Bengaluru on Wednesday
ISRO Chairman S Somanath addresses the gathering at a programme in Bengaluru on Wednesday(Photo | Vinod Kumar T)

BENGALURU: India’s ambitious Gaganyaan Mission, which aims to demonstrate India’s human spaceflight capability, has been in the works for a couple of years now.

On the sidelines of a programme to mark International Asteroid Day here on Wednesday, ISRO Chairman S Somanath said the G-1 unmanned mission is getting ready for launch by the end of this year. The crew module is under preparation.

“This year, we have four-four experiments in the pipeline. We are looking at December to send the sub-module, keep it in orbit for a few days and bring it back to Earth,” he said. Somanath also gave an update on the four select astronauts who will be part of the crew module. “They are under a rigorous programme at the capability centre. They are also helping us design the vehicle as they have gone under training. We are designers and it is important to take their feedback into consideration.”

Speaking about Sunitha Williams and the Boeing Starliner malfunction, reportedly docked in space due to helium and thrust problems, Somanath said these are technical issues. “When we launch the Ganganyaan Mission and send the crew module, we should make sure that there are no uncertainties. They (Boeing Staliner) had an option to go to the International Space Centre, dock there and stay there. If we encounter such a failure we might not have that option. We will need to perfect the Gaganyaan module to bring it back from space. The contingency module needs to be modulated. There are many takeaways from the Boeing-NASA mission,” the chairman emphasised.

With NASA-ISRO’s SyntheticAperture Radar Mission scheduled to launch at the end of August or early September to help study and understand the Earth’s natural processes, the head of the space agency said the Indian rocket is ready, and there were some issues with the US cargo that has been taken back.

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