Afternoon Voice

India has long way to go for human space flight mission: Fmr ISRO chief

India has a long way to go before it can actually undertake a human space flight mission, former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman A S Kiran Kumar said.

Earlier in the day, ISRO said that it carried out a major technology demonstration, the first in a series of tests to qualify a crew escape system, a critical technology relevant for human spaceflight.

Officials of the Bengaluru-headquartered space agency said development of different technologies needed for making the ambitious venture a reality, including environmental control and life support systems and flight suite, was under progress.

“This is one of the many things that needs to be done. Not the only one. It’s a step-by-step approach”, Kiran Kumar told agencies on today’s test. “These are all some preliminary activities”.

The crew escape system was an emergency measure designed to quickly pull the crew module along with the astronauts to a safe distance from the launch vehicle in the event of a launch abort, according to ISRO.

Kiran Kumar said: “We still have a long way to go actually (to undertake the mission). Currently, we are doing certain key developmental activities within the confined… whatever resources that are there.”

ISRO officials said the government is yet to give its formal approval for the human space flight mission which was on the drawing board of the space agency for quite a long time now.

More than a decade ago, at a meeting convened by ISRO, scientists were highly appreciative of the study undertaken by it on such a mission and were unanimous in suggesting that the time was appropriate for the country to undertake the venture.

Kiran Kumar said earlier this year that a human space flight was “not very high on priority” and indicated that “resource constraints” were holding back the high-cost venture.