BENGALURU: ‘Vyom Mitra’ spoke haltingly about her abilities to perform life support operations or respond to queries as she waved her robotic arm, but she was undoubtedly the piece de resistance on being unveiled by Isro to astronauts, experts from top space faring nations and specialists in aerospace medicine in Bengaluru, on Wednesday.
The prototype of the humanoid, scheduled to ride into space later this year or next year ahead of the Indian crew as part of ‘Gaganyaan’ programme, ‘Vyom’ (Sky, heaven in Sanskrit) Mitra (friend), designed at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvanantha-puram, repeated to space experts and journalists alike, “I can monitor few module parameters and alert you, and perform life support operations. I can be your companion, recognise the astronauts and respond to their queries” at the inaugural function of a three-day meet titled ‘Human Spaceflight & Exploration: Present challenges & future trends,’ on Wednesday.
‘Vyom Mitra’ will mimic all activities of ‘Gaganauts’ (Indian crew), including some simple experiments during the journey into space and back to terra firma while keeping in constant touch with Isro’s command & control facility, according to scientists of the Indian space agency.
Also on display at this event was a model of the GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle), modified to hold the orange capsule with three crew members, during their flight either in the second half of 2021 or early 2022.
Four men — all pilots from the Indian Air Force — have been picked for the ‘Gaganyaan’ mission. They will be trained in Russia and India over the next two years with experts in aerospace medicine scheduled to monitor their health during the arduous training schedule. Besides, Isro will also turn to France for training in life support and related systems.
Dr K Sivan, Chairman of isro said 'Gaganyaan' not only aims at India's maiden human flight to the space but also setting up a new space station for ‘continuous space human presence’....