COVID-19 Delays Gaganyaan's first uncrewed mission

ISRO may conduct more than two uncrewed missions before sending the astronauts to space.

The launch of the first uncrewed mission of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) planned in December as a part of the human spaceflight programme 'Gaganyaan' will be delayed due to the COVID-19 induced restrictions which delayed the delivery of hardware elements for the ambitious venture on Monday.


Chairman of ISRO, Mr. K Sivan told Press Trust of India that "Definitely it will not be possible in December. It's delayed".


Sivan also told that "It (uncrewed mission) will shift to next year".


As part of the directive of Gaganyaan, two uncrewed flights are planned to test the end-to-end capacity for the human crew mission.


The sources said, "Design, analysis and documentation are done by ISRO while hardware for Gaganyaan is fabricated and supplied by hundreds of industries across the country."


The objective of Gaganyaan is to carry a crew of astronauts to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and perform a set of predefined activities in space and return safely to a predefined destination on earth.


Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Space,Jitendra Singh said in February that the first unmanned mission is planned in December 2021 and the second unmanned one by 2022-23 followed by the human spaceflight demonstration.


Four Indian astronaut-candidates have already undergone generic space flight training in Russia as part of the ISRO Gaganyaan programme that focuses on physical, mental, psychological and technological aspects.


Formal announcement of the Gaganyaan programme was made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Independence Day address, 2018. While, the initial target was to launch the human spaceflight before the 75th anniversary of India's independence on August 15, 2022.


ISRO has signed MoU with seven labs of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for designing and developing of human centric products such as potable space food & water, health monitoring system, emergency survival kit, and medical kit.


ISRO has also signed a similar agreement with academic institutes for development of Microgravity payloads.

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