Gaganyaan: 16 minutes to reach the space

It will take about 16 minutes for Indian astronauts to reach the space where they would spend nearly a week carrying out scientific experiments, before returning to earth in their crew module that would splash down in the Arabian Sea. File photo

It will take about 16 minutes for Indian astronauts to reach the space where they would spend nearly a week carrying out scientific experiments, before returning to earth in their crew module that would splash down in the Arabian Sea.

The astronauts will stay at a low orbit of an elevation of 400 km. On their journey back home, they would first have to lower the Gaganyaan to a 120 km orbit where the separation of crew module would take place.

After separation, it would take about 36 minutes for the module to descend.

“The place of descend would be a place close to the Gujarat coast in the Arabian Sea,” K Sivan, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) chairman, said in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The crew module, Sivan said, would be having a diameter of 3.7 m and a height of 7 m with enough space for a three-member crew.

The astronauts would carry out a series of micro-gravity experiments which are being finalised at the moment.

Jitendra Singh, minister of state in the prime minister's Office, said no decision had been taken on how many astronauts would be sent in the first mission. Singh looks after the department of space and department of atomic energy.

Isro would soon start the process of selecting the astronauts, who would undergo extensive training spanning a period of over 2-3 years before they are ready for the space mission.

IAF pilots will be the preferred choice. The only two Indian astronauts Rakesh Sharma and Ravish Malhotra were IAF fighter pilots. While Sharma flew to space in a Soyuz T-11 mission with the Russians in 1984, Malhotra was the backup.

The initial part of the training would be conducted at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Bengaluru. Isro plans to tie up with a foreign space agency for advanced training.

Combining the crew module and service module, the lift-off mass of Gaganyaan would be 7 tonnes, which would require GSLV Mk-III for the task.

Two unmanned missions would be conducted before a manned flight.

In his August 15 announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated an Indian would be in space by 2022, the 75th anniversary of the Independence Day.

Sivan said environment control inside the crew module and life support were the challenging areas for the space agency, whose core area remained engineering.

“We would make sure there is no risk in the flight,” Singh said.

The Indian mission would cost less than Rs 10,000 crore, which is lower than the missions undertaken by other countries, he said.

So far only USA, Russia and China had sent a human being to space.

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Gaganyaan: 16 minutes to reach the space

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