Gaganyaan to Take Indian Astronaut to Space by 2022: PM Modi

PM Modi says India to launch its first manned space mission by 2022

PM Narendra Modi

"We have decided that by 2022, when India completes 75 years of independence, or before that, a son or daughter of India will go to space with a tricolour [Indian flag] in their hands", he said.

"We have been dreaming about this for the last 10 years, and now the prime minister has taken a very bold decision".

The Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) navigation satellite IRNSS-1I, on board the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C41), lifts off at the Satish Dawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in the state of Andhra Pradesh on April 12, 2018. "But we are confident we can achieve this because we have already developed and tested most of the critical technologies", Kailasavadivoo Sivan, Isro chairman, told The Telegraph on Wednesday over the telephone.

V.R. Lalithambika, a specialist in advanced launcher technologies, will helm the project as Director of the Human Space Flight Project. "The actual manned flight of the space capsule will be preceded by two unmanned flights", Sivan said.

According to him, ISRO has already tested the crew module and crew escape systems. It would demonstrate that India would be on par with the developed countries in this area.

The astronaut would be "carrying the national flag", Modi said.

When it achieves the mission, India would be the fourth nation to circle Earth after the Soviets, the Americans and the Chinese.

The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called Mangalyaan, India's first interplanetary mission was launched on November 5, 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

It should be noted Indian Airforce pilot Rakesh Sharma was the first Indian to have travelled in space.

India's space programme, under policies set by its earliest architects, had for decades focused on ground applications of space. India-born Kalpana Chawla and Indian-origin Sunita Williams are among the known names to have gone to space. Chawla was one of the seven crew members who had died in the explosion of the Space Shuttle Columbia, during its re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere in 2003. The country's second lunar probe Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled to be launched by January 2019 and will attempt a soft landing of a rover near the moon's south pole.

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