The first crewless Gaganyaan Flight which was earlier pushed to be launched in the first half of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will now be launched only by the end of 2021.
The crewless flight which is a part of ISRO’s ambitious Gaganyaan Project was originally planned to be launched in 2020 but was postponed due to the ongoing pandemic.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will also eventually launch a second crewless flight in 2022 before launching humans to space. K Sivan, ISRO Chairman has informed that the process of human rating has been progressing well and is expected to be complete in the second half of 2021.
Crewless Gaganyaan Flight:
As part of the unmanned Gaganyaan Flight, ISRO has planned on sending a humanoid which has been developed indigenously.
In June 2020 once it became clear that the first crewless flight will not be launched this year, ISRO Chief stated that whether two unmanned missions will be launched in 2021 will depend on the emerging situation and the decision will be taken based on what happens in the coming months. In case, the effects of Coronavirus continue, the space agency may have to revisit some of the plans.
Human Rated S200 motor case launched:
In November 2020, ISRO also flagged off the first human-rated S200 motor case for the first crewless mission of Gaganyaan. According to ISRO, the high thrust solid propellant strap-on boosters- S200 motor case-will be playing a significant role in human-rated GSLV Mkll. Many new design features, in order to human rate the booster, have been introduced in the hardware.
ISRO Chairman informed that the first critical booster segment of the motor case with a length of 8.5 meter, a diameter of 3.2 meter, and weighing 5.5 tonnes has been indigenously developed and delivered by L&T.
K Sivan described it as a major achievement and stated that the next step will be to achieve a human rating of all the hardware that is required for the Gaganyaan mission.
The heavy-lift launcher of ISRO, GSLV Mkll has been identified for the Gaganyaan Mission and is in the process of being human-rated. Reflecting the collaboration by private players, the human rating of the S200 motor case is another successful story of industry collaboration with ISRO.