The astronauts chosen for India’s first human space flight program, Gaganyaan, are prepared and waiting for the voyage to take place for the 2025 mission, according to S Somanath, head of the Indian Space Research Organization, who made the announcement here on Saturday.
In 2025, the Gaganyaan programme intends to launch four astronauts on a three-day expedition into space and return them safely to Earth.
According to Somanath, ISRO, whose Chandrayaan-3 made a historic landing close to the Moon’s south pole in August, is working around the clock to build the necessary technology.
“For the first mission we have selected four of them, and it is our endeavour to send them at least by 2025 to space and bring them back safely. Bringing them back safely is a very important element of this mission,” During the 11th convocation of Pandit Deendayal Energy University (PDEU), Somanath spoke to the graduating class.
“A lot of technology needs to be developed in the coming days to make it possible. And at ISRO we are working day and night to make that happen,” he added.
“In the coming days we will see multiple missions without man, and then ultimately the launch of an Indian into space. The astronauts are already ready. They are waiting for the flight to happen. This is one of the important missions that we are looking at,” he further said.
“The energy created out of Chandrayaan-3 landing enables us to dream big today. None of our dreams can be small. With every incremental success that we make, our dreams grow bigger and bigger, and it has to be achieved. And it can only be done by young people who are coming into this sector,” he averred.
According to Somanath, India has emerged as a global leader in space technology, and even with relatively small investment, the nation has been able to develop the capacity and capability in the field to produce its own spacecraft, launchers, and accomplish any goal it sets its mind to with that kind of money.
“Future generations of students graduating now have a great opportunity that none of us had in the past – an ability to envision, create new ideas in the space sector,” he said.
According to Somanath, the achievements of Chandrayaan-3, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), and the small satellite launch vehicle helped ISRO overcome three previous setbacks in 2023.
“It not only resonated with society all across the country, but it resonated equally well outside the country. We became the first nation to land on the south pole of the Moon, and we became the fourth nation to land on the Moon,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that “you need to do many many things, like going to moon again, going to other planetary bodies like Venus, Mars, and continuous exploration in a manner that is Indian” in order to realize his goal of India landing on the moon by 2040 and establishing its own space station by 2035.
“We would like to become a powerful nation … by involving everybody, to become toppers in at least some domains compared to others. The economy created on sound principles of technology has the ability to make us a world leader,” he said.