Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K Sivan on Thursday disclosed that the final manned mission of Gaganyaan that got delayed due to the pandemic will finally be launched in 2023.
Talking at the Times Now Summit on the ‘Space-The Final Frontier theme’, the Isro chairman said, “We have planned for two unmanned missions before the crewed mission. We are planning to launch the first unmanned mission next year. And we will target to launch the second unmanned mission and the crewed mission in 2023.”
Also Read: Space: The New Battleground
He said despite Isro’s best efforts, the earlier deadline to launch the mission before the 75 years of Independence could not be met due to the Covid-triggered restrictions. “However, we have now devised a new norm to work during the pandemic and soon we will launch more missions,” he said.
On foreign investment, Sivan said, “In line with the Modi government’s space reforms and to provide greater opportunities to private players, we are revising the FDI policy, which will open up huge avenues for foreign players to invest in India. The policy enables foreign players to tie up with Indian companies, which will not only greatly benefit both the players but also create a fertile environment for space industry and institutions to create new job opportunities, encourage innovation and contribute to the global space economy.”
On increased participation of private players in the space sector, the Isro chief said the reforms will allow industries to have the opportunity to develop enabling technologies for space exploration.
“Isro will make announcements of opportunities for system requirements, which will be realised by the industry. Also, Isro will offer its facilities for testing as well as systems and subsystems developed by the industry to private players. This framework will also be useful for the development of artificial intelligence, machine learning, enabled robotics systems for space exploration, debris management, and technologies for satellite missions,” he said.
Space ecosystem for private players has two parts: First is commercialisation and second is participation in innovation and technology development, he said.
Sivan said Isro is formulating a comprehensive plan to bridge the space technology gap. “We want India to be No. 1 in all space activities in a few years from now.”