The Gangayaan mission has a total cost of nearly Rs. 10,000 crores.
The Indian Space Research Organisation, or ISRO, will likely launch the first human space-flight mission named Gangayaan in 2024, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said.
The Indian Air Force has identified four fighter pilots for the mission, who are undergoing training in Russia, he added. The mission was scheduled to launch this year when India celebrated its 75th independence anniversary but got delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic also took a toll on the training of astronauts in Russia and India.
The first test flight in outer space will likely happen next year and will be followed by sending a robot, which looks like a female, named Vyom Mitra. During the test mission, the spacecraft is planned to be launched to an altitude of 15 kilometers where space scientists will simulate an abort scenario. This will ensure the return of crew capsules to the Earth using parachutes.
In the second orbital test mission, the flight will take the crew capsule to a higher altitude. Here again, a similar abort mission will take place to perfect the system.
According to the Indian space agency, the Gaganyaan mission “envisages undertaking the demonstration of human spaceflight to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in the short-term and will lay the foundation for a sustained Indian human space exploration programme in the long run.”
As part of the Gangayaan program, which has a total cost of nearly Rs. 10,000 crores, two unmanned missions and one manned mission are approved by the Government of India, ISRO added.