As part of his Independence Day speech, Narendra Modi had announced Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s ambitious plan to send a manned mission to space. Expected to be fulfilled in the 75th year of India’s Independence, this is all the information we have so far:

  • Gaganyaan, meaning ‘sky craft’ in Sanskrit, is said to be India’s first manned mission to space expected to launch between December 2021 and early 2022.

  •  It is supposed to be placed in a low-earth orbit of 300-400 km. Within 16 minutes of taking off, the crew will be in space, where they will remain for up to seven days. The return journey to Earth is expected to take 36 minutes.

  • The government on the 29th of December 2018, approved a budget of Rs 9,023 crores, this will be used to build the infrastructure and train the crew.

  • The rocket designated to transport the crew into space is said to be a GSLV-III (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-III). It took over 15 years to build and can launch satellites weighing 4 tons.
  • If successful, it would make India the fourth member (after Russia, the US, and China) of an elite club of nations who have sent humans to space.

  • ISRO has signed a pact with the Russian firm Glavkosmos to train astronauts for the project. The training will be conducted at three levels; two levels will be done at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Bangalore and the third level will be in Russia.

  • ISRO expects this space mission to generate around 15,000 jobs.

  • There will be three astronauts on this mission out of which one is presumed to be a woman.

  • Prior to the manned mission, ISRO will conduct two unmanned missions, the first one will take off in a span of 30 months from August 2019 and the second in 36 months.

  • The space suit that is said to be used for the mission was on display at the sixth edition of Bangalore Space Expo. The orange-coloured prototype took two years to develop at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre. It has the capacity to hold one oxygen cylinder and will allow the astronaut to breathe in space for 60 minutes.