Gaganyaan is an Indian crewed orbital spacecraft developed as a crucial component of the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme. This spacecraft is specifically designed to accommodate a crew of three astronauts, and there are plans to enhance it with rendezvous and docking capabilities. In its inaugural crewed mission, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) intends to launch this autonomous 5.3-metric ton capsule into Earth’s orbit at an altitude of 400 km. It will carry a two- or three-person crew and undertake a mission lasting up to seven days. The original plan was to launch the first crewed mission using ISRO’s LVM3 rocket in December 2021, but as of September 2023, it is now expected to be launched by mid-2024. The crew module manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) completed its inaugural uncrewed experimental flight on December 18, 2014.
After a failed initial launch of the ISRO TV-D1 rocket associated with India’s ambitious Gaganyaan Mission, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully relaunched the rocket, with a 45-minute delay. The Test Vehicle, carrying payloads related to the Gaganyaan human space flight program, was launched successfully at 10 a.m. on Saturday from Sriharikota after ISRO resolved all technical issues.
ISRO Chairman S. Somanath expressed his delight with the successful launch, stating, “I am very happy to announce the successful accomplishment of the Gaganyaan TV-D1 mission.” ISRO posted on social media that the reason for the initial launch hold had been identified and corrected, and the second launch was scheduled for 10:00 AM. Somanath explained that the initial launch delay was attributed to issues with engine ignition, which were subsequently identified and addressed. India’s Gaganyaan mission is a significant milestone in the country’s efforts to demonstrate its capability to send humans into space. The project aims to demonstrate human spaceflight capabilities by launching a crew of three members into a 400 km orbit for a 3-day mission and safely returning them to Earth by landing in Indian waters.
The Gaganyaan program is a significant initiative that will place India as the fourth nation to undertake a manned spaceflight mission, following in the footsteps of the US, Russia, and China. This achievement is built upon the successes of prior Indian space missions, including Chandrayan-3 and Aditya L1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has charted a course for India to pursue new and ambitious objectives, which encompass the establishment of the ‘Bharatiya Antariksha Station’ (Indian Space Station) by 2035 and the aspiration to send the first Indian astronaut to the Moon by 2040.