Four men from the Indian Air Force have been selected to undergo training for India’s first human spaceflight mission, ISRO chief K Sivan said on Wednesday as he declared 2020 as the year of Gaganyaan and Chandrayaan-3.
Addressing a press conference at the ISRO headquarters here, Sivan said the four astronauts will undergo training in Russia from the third week of January, but did not reveal their names.
“Many systems will be tested before the flight, including human rating of the propulsion modules and the crew escape system,” Sivan said.
Sivan also officially announced the Chandrayaan-3 moon mission which is again set to tackle the tricky south pole of the moon. Set to cost around Rs 600 crore, Sivan said the sequel to the moon mission may take 14-16 months and will use a lander and rover configuration while relying on Chandrayaan-2’s orbiter.
Chandrayaan-2 mission was India’s first attempt to land on lunar surface. The ISRO had planned the landing on the south pole of the lunar surface. However, the lander Vikram hard-landed, resulting in heartbreak for the space agency and an entire nation glued to the thrilling mission. The one consolation was the functioning of the Chandrayaan orbiter.
“We made good progress in Chandrayaan-2, even though we could not land it. The orbiter can go for three years and produce data,” Sivan said.
The ISRO said the agency is also working on land acquisition to build a second space port and has zeroed in on 2500 acres of land near Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu.
The year 2019 witnessed the ISRO touching the mark of 319-foreign satellite launches; deciding to go for another moon landing mission called Chandrayaan-3; setting up Human Space Flight Centre; starting the young scientist programme; signing agreement with Indian Air Force (IAF) to select and train Indian astronauts for the country’s manned mission.