Bengaluru: In the first step towards accomplishing a voyage for three Indians into outer space, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday announced the establishment of a Human Space Flight Centre in Bengaluru to address all issues related to the Rs 10,000 crore 'Gaganyaan' mission.
Dr K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO, during a media briefing about the first human flight from Indian soil, said a new management structure would also take shape to work on this ambitious project. While senior scientist Unnikrishnan Nair would head the new facility located inside the ISRO headquarters, Dr R Hutton would occupy the position of project director of 'Gaganyaan'. "We have put everything in place. 'Gaganyaan' is of highest priority in 2019. We are planning to have the first unmanned flight in December 2020, and the second in July 2021. Once we complete this, the manned mission will happen in December 2021 (eight months ahead of the schedule announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi). The entire team is geared up to achieve this target. It will be a major turning point for ISRO," he said adding that on completion of the mission, India would become the fourth nation in the world to achieve the feat.
He said while selection and training of astronauts and would be completed in the country with the help of the Indian Air Force (IAF), the crew members would be sent abroad, perhaps Russia, for advanced training. "We want women astronauts. That is our aim. In my opinion, we have to train both men and women." He, however, declined to spell out the composition of the crew, including whether it would include a civilian or a space scientist, saying the final selection would depend on endurance levels and several other parameters.
Dr Sivan said the objective of the mission is to carry a three-member crew to low earth orbit (250-300 km from the earth), and return them safely to a predefined destination on earth. The mission was announced by PM Modi during his Independence Day address last year, and the Union cabinet signed its approval in December 2018....