Afternoon Voice

Gaganyaan mission challenging but achievable: ISRO Chief

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K. Sivan said on Wednesday that the target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to send an Indian to outer space was a “very challenging task” but an achievable mission.

Speaking to ANI, Sivan said, “The Prime Minister has set a target of 2022. ISRO is always capable of taking up challenges, and we have never failed. So definitely with all the team-work, we will be able to achieve the target.”

When asked if it would be possible to achieve the Gaganyaan mission with the given time frame, Sivan said, “Yes, we are not doing this for the first time, and we are also not starting the mission from the scratch. We are already on the job,” adding that several important procedures, like the crew module, crew escape systems, environment control, life support systems, and the preparing the space suits for the astronauts had already been completed.

“It is not easy, it is a very challenging task,” Sivan said adding, “We will do it. Definitely, we will meet the targets defined by the government.”

Sivan asserted that the mission would not be limited to the ISRO as multiple organisations including industries, academia, etc would be contributing to the mission.

“It will be a matter of national prestige. Each and every Indian can be proud that technologically, we will be closer to other advanced nations,” Sivan said.

In a press conference, the ISRO chief said that the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark-III has been singled out to be used for this mission. Addressing concerns surrounding the GSLV Mark III, which has only been used once before, he said, “Yes, today there has been only one flight, but by the time the Human in Space Programme (HSP) will take off, some 10-15 vehicles would have already flown, so the confidence on the vehicle is good.”

He said the first step of the mission would be to send the GSLV-Mark III to space without humans, which is slated to happen by 2020, and after one or two such missions, the HSP programme can start.

Sivan mentioned that the project will cost less than Rs 10,000 crore.

He further said that the mission will help in developing new technologies, that can eventually be shifted to the industries and be used by everyone, even for domestic purposes. “The entire science and technology level of the country will increase,” Sivan said, adding that initial assessments suggest the mission will add around 15,000 jobs.

Earlier today, addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of the 72nd Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that by or before the year 2022, a son or daughter of India will be sent to outer space with a national flag.

The year 2022 will mark India’s 75th Independence Day.