The Union Cabinet on Friday cleared ISRO‘s much-awaited Human Spaceflight Mission (Gaganyaan).
Under the ambitious project, three Indian astronauts will be sent to space for at least seven days by 2022. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad announced at a press conference that the government has approved a budget of Rs. 10,000 crore for the programme.
The project was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his Independence Day speech from the Red Fort on August 15 this year.
ISRO had upped the ante by initiating the process of selection of experiments to be performed in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) where Indian astronauts (Gaganauts) will be sent. The organization is looking at a set of at least 10 experiments which include Micro-Biological experiments such as biological air filters and biosensors, testing medical equipment in space, life support and biomedical waste management and monitoring toxic gases.
An ISRO official, however, claimed that the experiments won’t be restricted to just these areas.
ISRO Chairman K Sivan seems to be confident of sending astronauts to space by 2020. The organization is working on multiple technologies for the dream-project. Also, it plans to send two unmanned flights to test all the systems in 2020 and 2021. Sivan revealed that ISRO has set a target of the first unmanned programme of ‘Gaganyaan’ by December 2020.
The process of astronaut selection has not started yet. ISRO, along with Institute of Aerospace Medicine, an agency of Indian Air Force (IAF) will be responsible for selecting the astronauts.