(Mission Gaganyaan) Gaganyaan is an Indian crewed orbital spacecraft, designed to carry three people. It will orbit Earth at 400 km altitude for up to seven days with a two- or three-person crew. The first crewed mission was planned in December 2021, with the first launch expected by mid-2024. The Defence Research and Development Organisation will support critical human-centric systems.
Mission Gaganyaan Program
The Gaganyaan orbital vehicle, developed by ISRO, was initially planned to be a capsule with a week in space endurance and a capacity of two astronauts. The project was commissioned in 2007 with a budget of around ₹10,000 crore. However, funding issues led to the project being pushed back to 2016. The current design requires a crew of three and will conduct four biological and two physical science experiments related to microgravity.
ISRO plans to replace hydrazine with green propellant on Gaganyaan missions, with Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre working on a monopropellant blended formulation. As of October 2021, five science experiments will be conducted on Gaganyaan, with two biological experiments and one heat sink experiment.
The HSFC is responsible for leading ISRO’s Gaganyaan programme, coordinating activities across various Indian centres, research labs, academia, and industries. As the lead center for human space flight activities, it adheres to high standards of reliability and human safety, conducting research in new technology areas like life support systems, Human Factors Engineering, Bioastronautics, crew training, and human rating & certification. These areas are crucial for future human space flight activities, including rendezvous and docking, space station building, and interplanetary collaborative missions.
About Mission Gaganyaan
The Gaganyaan project aims to demonstrate human spaceflight capability by launching a crew of three to an orbit of 400 km for three days and safely landing them in Indian sea waters. The project will utilize in-house expertise, Indian industry experience, intellectual capabilities of Indian academia and research institutions, and cutting-edge technologies from international agencies.
Pre-requisites include developing critical technologies like a human-rated launch vehicle, a Life Support System, emergency escape provisions, and evolving crew management aspects. Preliminary missions, such as the Integrated Air Drop Test, Pad Abort Test, and Test Vehicle flights, will demonstrate technology preparedness levels before the actual human space flight mission.
ISRO’s LVM3 rocket, a reliable heavy lift launcher, is set to launch the Gaganyaan mission. It consists of a solid, liquid, and cryogenic stage, all re-configured to meet human rating requirements. The Human Rated LVM3 will launch the Orbital Module to a 400 km Low Earth Orbit. It features a Crew Escape System (CES) powered by high burn rate solid motors, ensuring the crew and module are taken to a safe distance in case of emergencies.
The Orbital Module (OM) will orbit Earth, consisting of Crew and Service Modules, equipped with advanced avionics systems for safety.
The CM is a double-walled space designed for crew comfort, featuring a pressurized metallic Inner Structure and unpressurised External Structure with a Thermal Protection System. It houses crew interfaces, human-centric products, life support systems, avionics, and deceleration systems, and is designed for re-entry to ensure safety during descent.
SM, an unpressurized structure, will support CM in orbit, containing thermal, propulsion, power, avionics, and deployment mechanisms.
New technologies being developed for Mission Gaganyaan
Gaganyaan mission prioritizes human safety, utilizing engineering and human-centric technologies to ensure this through continuous development and realization.
Crew training for Mission Gaganyaan
The Bengaluru-based Astronaut Training Facility offers various training modules including classroom, physical fitness, simulator, and flight suit training. It covers academic courses, Gaganyaan Flight Systems, micro-gravity familiarization, aero-medical training, recovery and survival, flight procedures, crew training simulators, aero medical training, periodic flying practice, and yoga.
Mission Gaganyaan launch date
The Indian Space Research Organisation plans to conduct the first of several test flights ahead of the Gaganyaan mission on October 21.
Indian Navy is set to conduct a test vehicle development flight (TV-D1) at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, to test the crew module for Indian astronauts during human spaceflight. The test will involve launching the module to outer space, returning it to Earth, and recovering it after a touchdown in the Bay of Bengal. The Navy has already started mock operations to recover the module.
The TV-D1 will also test the “crew escape” system, which will return the crew to Earth if the spacecraft encounters issues during space descent. The test’s success will pave the way for the first unmanned “Gaganyaan” mission and a manned mission to outer space in a low-earth orbit.