In an event which took place on 6th September, the Indian Space Research Organisation showcased the spacesuit it has designed indigenously for India’s first planned human space mission. The human spaceflight programme which is named Gaganyaan was pushed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who formally announced it on 15th August 2018. Gaganyaan is a fully autonomous 3.7 tonne spacecraft which is designed to carry a 3-member crew to the orbit and return safely to the Earth after a few orbits for a time period up to 7 days. It is slated to be launched on the GSLV MK III launcher in 2022, it is the first program in which India is tackling every aspect of the launch starting from spacesuit designs to the launch and its successive re-entry.
The suits as described at the event held by ISRO in Bengaluru Space Expo are made of four layers and weigh less than 5 kilograms per piece. The spacesuit has been developed by ISRO at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre over the last two years. Two fully functional suits have already been made while a third one is in the manufacturing process and will be ready before the crew begins testing for the manned mission in 2022. The spacesuit has one oxygen cylinder which contains enough oxygen for an hour which will be used in case of a spacewalk. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has manufactured the crew module for the flight; the crew module had its first experimental flight on 18 December 2014. The experimental flight did not have crew on board.
Also, on display at the event the crew module capsule which has an indigenously developed thermal shield to keep the inside temperature of the crew capsule under 25 degree Celsius during its re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere. The capsule has been designed to travel in a 400-kilometre orbit around the Earth’s surface and the capsule will rotate around the Earth every 90 minutes. The crew onboard the Gaganyaan are scheduled to conduct experiments on microgravity for a maximum of seven days following which the re-entry will be started.
France has already pledged support to India’s ambitious Gaganyaan project. The French support will come in the form of life support and medicines for the Indian crew onboard. The French Space Agency head who was present at the Bengaluru Space Expo had announced that an enabling agreement would be signed between ISRO and the French Space Agency CNES for the same.
It is indeed inspiring that India is pushing for the Gaganyaan project ever since PM Modi led BJP formed government at the centre. The project which was initially planned in 2006 had remained on the shelves till 2013, with the BJP government coming to power PM Modi had initiated the restart of the mission which the UPA had shelved. The Gaganyaan launch will put India on the elite list of countries which have managed to send manned missions on their own, a big leap in space and technology for India.
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