NEW DELHI: Preparations for the country’s first manned mission to space are in full swing as Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently held its first meeting of the national advisory council (NAC) where all organisations and institutes involved in the Gaganyaan project participated. The agency also tested CE-20 engine, meant for the upper stage of human-rated GSLV MK-III, which will be carrying Indian astronauts to space. 

Speaking to TOI, ISRO chairman K Sivan said, “In the NAC meet on June 8, Air Vice-Marshal R G K Kapoor, assistant chief of air staff operations (Space), Rear Admiral D S Gujarl, DRDO director G Satheesh Reddy, HAL CMD R Madhavan and veterans of different institutes attended the meeting. All these agencies will play crucial roles in the mission. IAF will handle crew selection and training, DRDO will provide the life support system for crew and Navy will help in recovering the human capsule. ”

The ISRO chief said the meeting, also attended by former Indian astronaut Rakesh Sharma, discussed the overall plan, including crew training. “As planned, NAC has to meet once in six months to review the preparedness of the mission (scheduled to be launched before or by 2021). But we have decided to initially hold the review meet once in three months in order to streamline the process,” he said.

On crew selection, Sivan told TOI that “recently (May 29), we had signed an agreement with the IAF for crew training at ISRO’s Human Space Flight Centre, which was inaugurated on the premises of the ISRO headquarters in Bangalore. He said, “According to the plan, IAF will screen around 10 crew members for the mission. This screening and selection will happen within one to two months. ISRO will finally choose three members from these 10 crew members for the manned mission”.

On the Chandrayaan-2 mission, the ISRO chief the “integration job for the GSLV MkIII, which will launch the Chandrayaan-2 module, has been going on at the Sriharikota launch centre for quite some time. The spacecraft, on the other hand, will be on display at Bangalore's U R Rao Satellite Centre for the media for the next two days. Thereafter, the spacecraft will be taken to Sriharikota for integration with the rocket.”