A massive ambition of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is on the verge of becoming a reality. On Friday the Union Cabinet approved a budget of Rs. 10,000 crore for India’s Gaganyaan project. The cabinet approved the indigenous spacecraft project; Gaganyaan under which three-member crew will be sent to space for at least seven days by 2022.

ISRO’s Gaganyaan mission will help India become the fourth nation to independently send humans to space after Russia, the US and China. The Gaganyaan project announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on India’s 72nd Independence Day.

The mission is expected to have a crew capacity of three astronauts who are supposed to spend at least a week. The total cost of the project is outlined and approved to be Rs. 10,000 crores by the Union Cabinets.

Development of Gaganyaan started in 2006 with the plan to design a simple capsule- something alike to the Mercury-class spacecraft with an endurance of about a week in space. The design finalized by March 2008 and was submitted to the Government of India for further fundings. The final push for the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme happened in 2017, and it was approved and announced by the Prime Minister on 15 August 2018. The latest design calls for a mission of three in a crew.

ISRO chairman K Sivan had said that India has already developed technologies such as human crew module, environment control, and life support system, which are the key for any human-crewed mission to space. ISRO plans to conduct experiments on microgravity through its astronauts. For him, it is not just an ISRO mission, but a national mission project and ISRO will achieve it.

According to the mission, the astronauts will be inside a crew module which will be attached to a services module and then onto an orbital module. The orbital module will be launched. The launch will last about 16 minutes after the liftoff from Satish Dhawan Space Centre. They will spend 5-7 days in orbit and return for a splashdown in the Bay of Bengal.

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