India's first manned mission to space in December 2021

Vikas SV

New Delhi, Jan 11: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday said that it has set a target to launch India's first manned mission to space, also called Gaganyaan project, in December 2021.

On December 28 last year, Union Cabinet approved indigenous human spaceflight programme- Gaganyaan and approved funds of Rs 10,000 crore for the ambitious project. Gaganyaan woud carry three member crew for minimum seven days in space.

"The target for two unmanned missions to space is December 2020 and July 2021. The target for a manned mission to space is December 2021," ISRO chief K Sivan said today.

"The inital training for Gaganyaan will be done in India and advanced training maybe in Russia. Women astronauts will be there on the team. That's our aim," he added.

Also Read | Two technologies key to ISRO's ambitious Gaganyan mission

Prime Minister Modi on August 15 this year announced that an Indian astronaut would go into space by 2022. He had said from the ramparts of Red Fort that when India celebrates 75th year of Independence in 2022, "and if possible even before, an Indian son or daughter" will undertake a manned space mission on board 'Gaganyaan' "carrying the national flag".

If ISRO executes Gaganyan perfectly, then there would be a paradigm shift in the way world looks at India's capabilities in terms of space exploration. ISRO has undertaken a number of space programmes with great success rate, but sending a human being to space is a different ball game altogether. It is far more complicated than even Chandrayaan and Mangalyaan.

There are a number of new technologies that ISRO has to develop to successfully carry out Gaganyan and several of these technologies are being tested.

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