One minute read. Written by a grade 7 student.
Gaganyaan, which means ‘Sky Vehicle’ in Sanskrit, is an Indian spacecraft that is meant to be India’s first manned mission in space. Part of the Human Spaceflight Programme by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the spacecraft will take three astronauts to space for a period of seven days. After several test flights, the final flight with crew on board will take place in 2022. This is going to be a very important and significant step for India’s space programme. Gaganyaan is expected to cost India Rs 10,000 crore.
How many astronauts are going?
Four astronauts have been selected for this mission and they are currently undergoing training in Russia. However, Mr. K. SivanSivan, Chairperson of ISRO, has said that the the first flight may carry just one astronaut.
The training will be very tough for these astronauts. They will undergo a medical examination before they start training, which will put them through conditions that will get them used to gravitational changes which will cause many physical reactions in the body.
In space, as you know, there is no gravitational pull – meaning that people float around instead of walking, since nothing is pulling them down. So, changes in gravity can cause many reactions in people – like sickness, fluctuations in blood circulation etc. As part of the mission preparation, astronauts will be put under a centrifuge which will spin rapidly so that they adapt them for gravitational acceleration. This is what a centrifuge looks like:
Why have they gone to Russia for training?
The all-weather friendship of India and Russia has also been reflected in the field of space. India’s only astronaut to travel space Rakesh Sharma, also undertook his journey in Russia’s Interkosmos programme. For Gaganyaan, ISRO signed an agreement with Russia’s Glavkosmos to select and train Indian astronauts for the space mission. Earlier ISRO chief had said that 12 astronauts from India would go to Russia for training and four would be shortlisted. The selected astronauts will now undergo rigorous training for 15 months In India and abroad.
Why is this a big deal for India?
If India succeeds in sending the manned mission to space, it will be only the fourth country to do this – after the United States, China and Russia. It will be a proud moment for the country. It will also give boost to India’s dream of setting up its own space station.
ISRO is planning to construct a training facility for its astronauts. The Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) will be built at Challakere a town in the Chitradurga district of Karnataka.