ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), with its astounding & momentous achievements, has proved that even – Sky isn’t the limit. It has come very far, from launching Aryabhata, the first Indian satellite, with the help of the Soviet Union- to set up a world record by launching 104 satellites in a single flight.

NASA’s budget of USD 23.3 billion dwarfs ISRO’S budget of a mere USD 2.0 billion by a whopping 168.38%.But the Indian Space agency didn’t let the spartan budget hinder them from successfully reaching Mars in its very first attempt. Neither did it stop them from discovering water on Moon, with the help of chandrayaan-1.

What is Gaganyaan?

ISRO is looking forward to making India proud with its formidable 10,000-crore Gaganyaan Mission. “Gaganyaan” is a Portmanteau word made by combining two Sanskrit words – ‘Gagan‘ meaning sky & ‘Yana’ meaning craft.

Gaganyaan will be India’s first crewed mission to space. Its success will make India the 4th country to do so, following Russia, the US, and China. This very ambitious mission aims to take a crew of 3 astronauts to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for a stretch of 5 to 7 days. ISRO’s GSLV MKIII (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch vehicle Mark III), an evolved, unequivocal & futuristic version of the GSLV MK II, will launch the crewed vehicle. Nicknamed “Bahubali”, it is India’s heaviest launch vehicle, weighing about 640-tonne.

Prime minister, Narendra Modi, also mentioned Gaganyaan during his “Mann ki Baat” in 2020. – “Gaganyaan mission will be a historic achievement in the field of science and technology for India in the 21st century. It will provide to be a milestone for New India,” he said.

Two uncrewed orbital test flights will be launched before the first-ever Indian crewed mission, Gaganyaan. Gaganyaan’s first orbital test flight formerly scheduled for this year, owing to the current dire Covid-19 situation in the country, has been delayed for the year 2022. “Owing to the spread of coronavirus infection and the lockdowns across the countries, vendors are working at a lower capacity or closed which in turn has impacted the supply of components. Even our officials are working from home due to the lockdown,” K. Sivan, Chairman, ISRO and Secretary, Department of Space said.

Vyommitra, ISRO’s humanoid robot, will board the first test flight of the Gaganyaan schedule. “This humanoid will basically mimic human functions, will record parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate, etc. This is getting ready. The two unmanned flights will let us ensure whether everything is working well, whether the environment in the modules are controlled, whether it is safe for humans. Like any programme, after two successful test flights, we will undertake the operational flight,” said K. Sivan apropos of Vyommitra & the two test flights.

The second orbital test flight is also lined up for launch in 2022 and India’s first Maiden human spaceflight, Gaganyaan, is slated to ride to space in 2023.

Future missions

Another momentous mission adjourned due to the Covid-19 is Aditya L-1, which aims to study the Sun. It will cover a stretch of 1.5 million km from the Earth’s surface. The satellite will be sent to the Lagrangian point 1, between the Earth and the Sun.

Shukrayaan-1, ISRO’s mission to Venus in 2024, which will orbit the Earth’s closest neighbor & study its surface and atmosphere, is also worth mentioning.

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