Space Sector

Gaganyaan Mission: India’s First Manned Mission To Space By ISRO

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 … 

I think your ears are also craving to hear this countdown voice of the Gaganyaan mission.

Indian Space agency ISRO will launch its most awaited first manned mission Gaganyaan at the end of 2023.

Yes, I know it is quite a long period but till then you can satisfy your cravings by understanding the Gaganyaan mission. And as a curious star lover, you should know the exciting journey of this thriller mission.

What Is the Gaganyaan Mission?

In the Gaganyaan mission, ISRO will send 3 Astronauts to the Low Earth Observation (LEO) by Gaganyaan Spacecraft. After 5 Different experiments for seven days, all 3 Astronauts will be landed in the Arabian Sea or the Bay of Bengal.

Through this mission, ISRO wants to test and demonstrate its space capabilities to send humans to low earth orbit. Because it is the first crewed/manned space mission of the Indian space agency ISRO.

The gaganyaan mission is completely designed and developed by the Indian Space Agency ISRO but 500 private firms along with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) contributed. Some friendly nations, the French Space Agency CNES, and the Russian Space Organisation Roscosmos have also played their role.

Read also:- HAL Delivers Key Semi-Cryogenic Propellant Tank To ISRO

After the successful completion of the Gaganyaan mission, India will become the fourth country in the world to send humans into space. Before India, the United States, Russia, and China sent humans into space.

Design and Development Of Gaganyaan Mission

Primary studies and technical development of the Gaganyaan mission were started in 2006 itself. And till March 2008, the design was finalized and submitted to the Government of India for funding.

In this plan, the design of a capsule that will send 2 Astronauts in (Low Earth Observation) LEO. After the endurance of a week in space a splashdown landing after re-entry. After a long wait of about 1 Year, The Indian government released some funding in February 2009. But it was not given enough support.

ISRO needed ₹12,400 crores for this mission, but till the year 2012, only ₹5000 crores were released. At a time when its uncrewed launch was fixed in 2013 itself. It was postponed till the year 2016, and ISRO had taken this mission out of the priority list and thought it right to focus on other missions.

But in the year 2017, funding was provided to launch this mission. And on 15 August 2018, Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi made an official announcement about India’s crewed space mission.

And ISRO changed the plan and decided to send 3 Astronauts to space instead of 2.

Gaganyaan Launch Vehicle

ISRO will use HRLV, the human-rated version of its self-made GSLV MK 3 launch vehicle, to send the Gaganyaan spacecraft from the earth to low earth orbit (LEO). 

GSLV MK 3 is the heaviest payload-carrying launch vehicle of ISRO, which can carry a payload of up to 10000 kg in LEO. And the weight of the Gaganyaan spacecraft is about 8200 kg.

GSLV MK 3 Launch Vehicle
GSLV MK 3 Launch Vehicle

GSLV MK 3 is a 3-stage medium-lift launch vehicle that comes with 2 solid-fueled S200 boosters. Both these boosters provide additional thrust to assist the spacecraft to escape from the gravity pull of the earth.

They are solid-fueled so they cannot be controlled once they are ignited. And after the fuel runs out, it automatically separates from the main rocket. 

The main rocket of GSLV Mk 3 rocket is fitted with two Vikash engines. It is a liquid propellant engine using UDMH as fuel, and nitrogen tetroxide as an oxidizer. It will separate in the second separation stage.

For the upper stage, ISRO and Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) have designed a high thrust cryogenic engine named CE-20 E9. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has manufactured the CE-20 E9 engine to be used in the Gaganyaan mission. 

There is a plan to launch the gaganyaan mission from Satish Dhawan Space Centre(SDSC).

The Gaganyaan Spacecraft 

Like all orbital vehicles, the Gaganyaan spacecraft also has 2 Parts.

  1. Crew Module
  2. Service Module

The crew model is covered inside the crew escape system (CEO) and connects to the service model. The service model is the last part of a spacecraft. With a spacecraft adapter, the service model is attached to the launch vehicle.

Spacecraft before LEO
Spacecraft before LEO

After reaching low earth orbit (LEO), the 3 stage separation process of HRLV will be completed. And with it, the spacecraft adapter and CES will also be separated from the spacecraft.

Now, All the 3 Astronauts will conduct 5 Science experiments while orbiting the Earth in LEO for the next seven days.

1. Gaganyaan Crew Module

The 5.3-ton crew module is the main part of the spacecraft in which the astronauts will live from the launch of the mission until landing in the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea.

The astronauts will also carry out their daily activities and 5 Science experiments in the crew module Itself. It was made by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and delivered to ISRO in 2014.

Life support and environmental control systems will also be installed in the crew module to make it human live-able. It will be equipped with an Emergency Mission Abort and Crew Escape System. So that in any critical situation, the life of astronauts can be saved by separating the crew model from the rest of the spacecraft.

It is fitted with 2 Parachutes, one of which will bring down the speed of the crew module from 216 m/s to 11 m/s at the time of splashdown landing. The second has been installed for emergencies when the first one does not work.

2. Gaganyaan Service Module

The 2.9-ton service module is the only part of the spacecraft that connects to the crew module. It’s fitted with 5 liquid-propellant engines that will help the crew module in the orbit-raising maneuver when the spacecraft reaches LEO.

Vyommitra

Space agencies of many nations used to send small animals in their unmanned missions to check their safety measures and to ensure that human astronauts could survive in space.

But ISRO wants to break this tradition, and that is why he gave birth to Vyommitra.

Vyommitra is a female-looking robot that will perform microgravity experiments and monitor module parameters in the unmanned Gaganyaan mission. And in crew missions, support the astronauts by simulating multiple tasks.

Vyom Mitra robot
Vyom Mitra humanoid robot

It does not have legs. The Vyommitra is programmed in conversation with Hindi and English and can perform multiple tasks.

Vyommitra is a Sanskrit word that means Sky Friend. And as per its name, it will also help the astronauts in many ways.

It can notice and give out warnings if environmental changes within the cabin get uncomfortable for astronauts and change the air condition. It can autonomously complete tasks and follow new commands.

Gaganyaan Astronauts (Vyomanauts)

In 2019, ISRO shortlisted 4 out of 25 test pilots from the Indian Airforce (IAF) as astronauts for the Gaganyaan mission.

One of the shortlisted pilots by ISRO includes Odisha-born Indian Airforce (IAF) Pilot Wing Commander Nikhil Rath. The names of the three astronauts, including two wing commanders and one group captain, have not been made public.

In June 2019, the contract to train four astronauts was signed between ISRO and Glavkosmos. The Glavkosmos is a subsidiary of the Russian space organization Roscosmos. The training of these four astronauts was completed from Feb 2020 to March 2021.

Earlier, the ISRO official had said that after receiving training in Russia, these astronauts will now receive module-specific training in India. They will be trained in crew and service modules developed by ISRO, learn to operate it, perform around it, and do stimulus.

Read also: Astronauts To Finish Basic Aero-Med Training Then Return To Moscow

Astronauts selected by ISRO for the Gaganyaan mission are also called Vyomnauts or Gaganauts. Vyom and Gagan are Hindi words that mean sky.

Manufacturing of space suits and other personal flight equipment such as crew seats and viewports sets for Indian astronauts was also started by Zvezda, a subsidiary of Roscosmos in 2020. 

ISRO has kept the color of its spacesuit orange because The orange color is easily spottable for the rescue team of astronauts in the case of an Orbiter bailout over the sea.

Space suit designed Vyomanauts
Spacesuit designed and developed for Vyomanauts

DRDO and its subsidiary DFRC will provide space-grade food, crew health care, radiation measurement, and many safety and validated critical human-centric systems and technologies to the astronauts going to space.

What Experiments Will The Astronauts Do In Space During The Gaganyaan Mission?

You have read many times in this article that under the Gaganyaan mission, the astronauts will do 5 Science experiments while floating in LEO for 7 Days.

But which experiments?

Till October 2021, astronauts will conduct ISRO selected five science experiments.

The payloads will be developed by the IIST, UASD, TIFR, IIT Patna, IICT, and JNCASR

Out of the five, two are biological experiments that will be conducted by IIST, UASD, and TIFR. And three are physics experiments that will be conducted by IIT Patna, IICT, and JNCASR.

  1. Biological experiments will include kidney stone formation in Drosophila melanogaster and the Sirtuin 1 gene marker effect developed by IIST, UASD, and TIFR.
  2. IIT Patna will run experiments on a heat sink that can handle very high heat flux.
  3. JNCASR will study fluid mixing characteristics.
  4.  IICT will examine the crystallization phenomenon

When Will The Gaganyaan Mission Launch?

Don’t delay this again, please.

Everyone wants to see the launch of the Gaganyaan mission as soon as possible. But it is not in our hands, in the hands of ISRO.

And the ISRO announced that all the major test missions, including the assurance of the crew escape system, will be conducted till 2022 end.

The first Crave mission is planned to be launched at the beginning of the second half of 2022, which has been named G1. After this, another uncrewed mission G2, as a test flight, will be launched in early 2023, but this will carry the ISRO-made humanoid robot Vyommitra.

After the successful completion of the G1 and G2 uncrewed missions, the crewed Gaganyaan mission is possible to be launched in the second half of 2023.

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Prem Prakash

I am a defence lover with the skill of writing, not firing.

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