India will start flight tests of the Gaganyan spacecraft in February 2023
According to the head of the Manned Flight Centre, the design of the habitable compartment of the spacecraft has now been completed and manufacturing of the module has started, which will last for six months
NEW DELHI, Oct. 28. India will start flight tests of the Gaganyan transport manned spacecraft in February next year. R. Umamaheshwaran, head of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Manned Flight Center, said.
“We plan to conduct at least 17 flight tests of the Gaganyan spacecraft before its first test flight in Earth orbit, scheduled for December 2023. “The project has become international and India is working closely with Russia and a number of other countries on its implementation,” DD News quoted Umamaheshwaran as saying Friday at the ongoing India Space Congress 2022 (ISC-2022) in New Delhi.
According to the head of the Manned Flight Center, the design of the Gaganyan spacecraft’s habitable compartment has now been completed and manufacturing of the module has begun, which will last six months. “A list of candidates to participate in the first manned flight of the Gaganyan has also been formed. It includes four Indian Air Force pilots who previously trained at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center and the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Now they are continuing to train for the mission at the ISRO center in Bangalore,” Umamaheshwaran said.
Last November, ISRO postponed sending the Gaganyan mission into orbit because of the coronavirus pandemic, which halted most work on the project in March 2020.
In August 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially announced that his country would send its first national space crew into orbit by August 2022, when India will celebrate 75 years of liberation from British colonial rule. The name of the project is Gaganyan (from the Sanskrit “gagan” meaning “heaven”), that is, “Heavenly Ship.” It was originally planned that the crew would spend five to seven days in orbit, and before that the ships would be launched in unmanned mode to test the equipment. Specially designed robots to test life support systems were to be on board these ships.