ISRO stated on Monday that the launch of the first uncrewed mission planned for December as part of the human spaceflight program ‘Gaganyaan’ will be postponed owing to the COVID-19-induced delays in hardware supply for the ambitious endeavor.
“It will most likely not be achievable in December. It has been postponed “, Mr. K Sivan, Chairman of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), said P T I here.
“It (the uncrewed mission) will be moved to the next year.”
According to sources at the Department of Space in Bengaluru, the supply of gear by the sector has been hampered in recent months as a result of the lockdown enforced in many states to manage the epidemic.
Two uncrewed flights are planned as part of Gaganyaan’s mandate to evaluate the manned mission’s end-to-end capability.
“ISRO does the design, research, and documentation, while hundreds of companies across the nation build and provide Gaganyaan hardware,” the sources added.
Gaganyaan’s mission is to transport a three-person crew to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), conduct a series of predetermined activities in space, and safely return them to a predetermined location on Earth.
Mr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Space, stated in February that the first unmanned trip will take place in December 2021, and the second unmanned mission will take place in 2022-23, followed by a human spaceflight demonstration.
As part of the Gaganyaan program, four Indian astronaut candidates (Test Pilots of the Indian Air Force) have previously completed basic space flight training in Russia.
The mission will be carried out by ISRO’s heavy-lift launcher GSLV Mk III.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the formal announcement of the Gaganyaan program during his Independence Day address on August 15, 2018.
The original goal was to launch human spaceflight before India’s 75th independence anniversary on August 15, 2022.
Meanwhile, the four Indian astronaut hopefuls are preparing to begin the mission’s Indian leg, which will include physical, mental, psychological, and technological preparation.
The training program has been designed by an expert team.
“It will most likely begin next month. The training will take place in several locations. Academic training, aircraft trials, Navy trials, survival trials, simulation trials… until they fly, the training is repeated and updated.” Mr. Sivan expressed his thoughts. The Indian Air Force is in charge of the personnel management activities.
ISRO has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with seven DRDO labs for the design and development of human-centric products.
It has inked a similar arrangement for the development of microgravity payloads with academic institutes.
Space food and drinkable water, a crew health monitoring system, an emergency survival pack, and a crew medical kit are among the human-centric items.
ISRO is also enlisting the assistance of the French, Russian, and US space agencies for “some of the critical tasks and component supply,” according to sources.
Mr. Sivan stated the engines are being tested and qualified as part of the launch vehicle’s human rating.