The first unmanned trial flight of ISRO’s ambitious Gaganyaan mission, which was originally scheduled for this year, has now been delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19 lockdown.
The Indian Space Research Organisation has decided to revisit its Gaganyaan trial plans due to a nationwide lockdown imposed to contain coronavirus pandemic. ISRO had announced earlier that it had planned two unmanned trial flights ahead of the manned space mission.
The first trial unmanned flight was supposed to be launched in December 2020 and the second trial flight was scheduled for July 2021.
Will the Gaganyaan mission be delayed?
According to ISRO officials, India’s trial flights with crew members were planned for 2020 and 2021, ahead of the actual manned mission- Gaganyaan, which is scheduled for 2022. However, the trials may face some delay with preparations being majorly impacted due to the lockdown.
As per the ISRO officials, the current year’s schedule does not include the Gaganyaan unmanned flight The plans focus on other satellite launches. The postponement of the unmanned flight may impact the overall timeline of the Gaganyaan mission, which aims to send humans to space by 2022.
Indian cosmonauts resume training
Russia's space agency Roscosmos announced that the Indian cosmonauts resumed their training at the Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) on May 12. The IAF pilots selected by ISRO earlier this year as the potential candidates for the Gaganyaan mission had begun training in Moscow but their training was interrupted in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Gaganyaan mission was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day address in August 2018. The mission aims to take Indian astronauts to space on board 'Gaganyaan' by 2022.
Gaganyaan aims to take a three-member crew to low earth orbit of 300-400 km.The overall mission is expected to cost around Rs 10000 crores.
Gaganyaan will be the first human mission indigenously developed by ISRO. If it is successful, India would become the fourth nation to achieve the feat after the United States, Russia and Mainland China.