The Indian Space Research Organisation is planning on its first-ever manned mission. ISRO is planning to launch its first crewed flight, the Gaganyaan, in December 2021.
ISRO had always been dependant on the Serbs for getting into orbit. Now that ISRO announced that it is planning its first-ever crewed mission to space, all of that sounds like a distant past.
India has come far with its homegrown technology, and what better way to display them if not at the space stage? ISRO will launch three astronauts into Low Earth Orbit for a minimum of one week.
However, this will not be the first time that ISRO had planned to send a man into space. NASA is a pioneer in this aspect, in that NASA has sent over hundreds of astronauts into space.
ISRO’s first plan to send astronauts into space was taken in 1986 in which two payload specialists were supposed to board one of NASA’s space shuttles. But for various reasons, that plan fell flat on its face. The Challenger disaster that followed halted both NASA and ISRO’s plan of sending astronauts into space, albeit NASA’s halt was short-lived.
The plan again resurfaced in 2006 and then began the planning for the Gaganyaan mission. However, for the lack of funding the plan did not come to fruition. In 2018, India’s PM Narendra Modi announced the Gaganyaan mission in 2018 and raised ISRO’s budget by 3%. A number of astronauts were shortlisted and the mission’s works gained momentum.
Ahead of its 2021 crewed mission, ISRO will conduct two uncrewed flights in December 2020 and July 2021. Instead of testing empty spacecraft, the ISRO will launch a humanoid robot named Vyommitra.
2021 will be a historic moment not only for ISRO but for the entire nation in general.