Gaganyaan Mission : ISRO to send Indian into space by 2022

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India’s first manned mission Gaganyaan may take 1 astronaut

Updated: Jan 08, 2020 05:14 IST
By Anonna Dutt

PM Modi announced the space mission from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15, 2018, saying that “an Indian son or daughter” will carry the national flag on the trip when the country celebrates its 75th year of Independence in 2022.

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K. Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).(Bloomberg photo)

Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) chief K Sivan detailed the country’s first manned mission to space on Tuesday, saying the four men shortlisted for the programme will receive physical fitness training in Russia for 11 months, but the first spaceflight in December 2021 may carry just one person.

Under the mission, named Gaganyaan and expected to cost ₹10,000 crore, India is expected to send astronauts, all Indian Air Force pilots, to the low earth orbit, an earth-centred orbit with an altitude of 2,000km where most of the manmade objects in outer space are placed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the space mission from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15, 2018, saying that “an Indian son or daughter” will carry the national flag on the trip when the country celebrates its 75th year of Independence in 2022.

Sivan, however, confirmed on Tuesday that all astronauts shortlisted for the trip were men. “I cannot reveal the identities of the four individuals shortlisted for the Gaganyaan mission, but all of them are men,” the Isro chief told HT.

The astronauts will likely begin their training in Russia from the third week of January, the Indian space agency has said.

In Russia, the astronauts will receive physical fitness training in different types of environments to help them acclimatise to travelling in space. “The astronauts will undergo the physical fitness training in Russia for 11 months, after which they will receive module specific training in India. In that, they will train in the crew and service module designed by us, learn to operate it, work around it, do simulations,” Sivan said.

The Isro chief said Mysuru-based Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL) was preparing a food menu for the mission. “The food for the astronauts is being developed by DFRL. Apart from that, a number of DRDO labs are helping with various aspects of the mission. The space suit is also being designed; Russian help is being taken for that,” Sivan said.

News agency ANI tweeted that DFRL prepared food items including egg rolls, vegetarian rolls, idlis, moong dal halwa and pulao, along with a food heater. HT could not independently verify the list of food items being developed.

Sivan said that even though all four people will receive the complete training, it was likely that only one person would go to space during the first mission, which is scheduled for December 2021.

“We are designing the mission for three people to go to low earth orbit for seven days. However, whether we send two people or one person and whether they spend seven days in the orbit or one will be decided later on in the mission after the two unmanned flights. Usually, the first flight is very crucial and even countries such as the USA, Russia, and China sent only one person for the first time and for a very short time – one orbit, or one day, or even like the USA did only part of the orbit,” said Sivan.

The design of the crew and the service module, which will together form the Gaganyaan spacecraft, has been also been completed, the Isro chairperson said.

“The design for the launch vehicle that will be human-rated has also been completed. This is all on paper; the realisation hasn’t started yet. Once the realisation starts, the first model will come and it will go for qualification then the flight model will be made most likely by December this year. When you are planning a mission with humans, all systems have to be more robust; failure rate has to be low,” said Sivan.

India’s heaviest launch vehicle, the GSLV Mark III, referred to as “Bahubali”, will carry the module with astronauts to space. It has been redesigned to have a four-metre payload faring (the top of a launch vehicle where the spacecraft is housed).

The mission will take off from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. The launch pad is also being remodelled to allow for human presence. Currently, no one is allowed beyond a distance of around 6km from the launch vehicle once the fuelling has taken place.

A committee of external experts has been set up to review the systems and check for robustness. “Usually, for other missions, the review is done by Isro people, but since humans are involved in the mission, a committee of external experts will review the work,” said Sivan.

A humanoid robot that will be sent on the unmanned flight is also taking shape. “This humanoid will basically mimic human functions, will record parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate, etc. This is getting ready. The two unmanned flights will let us ensure whether everything is working well, whether the environment in the modules are controlled, whether it is safe for humans. Like any programme, after two successful test flights, we will undertake the operational flight,” said Sivan.

India’s first manned mission Gaganyaan may take 1 astronaut
 

Gautam

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Tender issued by Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) shows a different grid fin design from what we have seen so far on Crew Escape System.

Tender Named : 3D printing of Ti6Al4V Grid Fin through Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing

Old design of grids from the PAD test on July 5, 2018 :
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New design :
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This will remain as it is :
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Gautam

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Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Department of Space

15-January-2020 20:12 IST


“Gaganyaan space astronauts training to start this month”: Dr Jitendra Singh


“Gaganyaan” space astronauts will start their training this month, most likely in the third week of January.

This was disclosed here today by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh who also said that the training of the astronauts for India's first human space mission will take place in Russia. Four astronauts have been identified for the mission, he added.

It was further disclosed by the Minister that four astronauts, shortlisted for the mission, will receive training for 11 months. All the four astronauts selected for the mission are men but their identity cannot be revealed.

After 11 months of training in Russia, the astronauts will receive module specific training in India. In that, they will be trained in crew and service module designed by ISRO, learn to operate it, work around it and do simulations. As per the ISRO sources, India's heaviest launch vehicle “Bahubali” GSLV Mark-III will the carry astronauts to space.

Rs.10,000 crores has already been sanctioned by the Union Cabinet for the Gaganyaan project. This followed the announcement made by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on the Independence Day last year, stating that the Gaganyaan launch will coincide with the 75th year of India’s Independence.

Though the first Indian to go into space was Rakesh Sharma in 1984 but the spacecraft in which he went was not Indian. Therefore, Gaganyaan will be the first-ever human space mission conceived and developed in India, as a distinct illustration of the Prime Minister’s "Make in India" vision.

“Gaganyaan space astronauts training to start this month”: Dr Jitendra Singh
 

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France to train Indian flight surgeons for Gaganyaan mission

The two-week training is a critical aspect of the Gaganyaan project that is aimed at sending three Indians to space by 2022.

PTI | Jan 21, 2020, 05.47 PM IST

Those shortlisted will then undergo two weeks training in France.

NEW DELHI: France will train Indian flight surgeons to enable them to monitor the health of astronauts selected for the ambitious human space mission Gaganyaan, officials said on Tuesday.

The two-week training is a critical aspect of the Gaganyaan project that is aimed at sending three Indians to space by 2022.

A memorandum of understanding on the matter is expected to be signed later this week when French space agency CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall arrives in Bengaluru, officials told PTI.

The flight surgeons, who will be Indian Air Force doctors specialising in aviation medicines and responsible for the health of astronauts before, during and after flight, will be shortlisted soon, an official from India's space agency ISRO added.

Those shortlisted will then undergo two weeks training in France.

Brigitte Godard, a flight surgeon with the European Space Agency, was in India in July and August last year to start the training of physicians and engineers.

France has a well-established mechanism for space medicine. It also has the MEDES space clinic, a subsidiary of CNES, where space surgeons undergo training.

Officials said talks are also on whether to send the astronauts to France for further training.

The four shortlisted astronauts -- all test pilots from the Indian Air Force -- are currently in Russia for an 11-month training programme.

India and France share robust ties in the area of space.

The two countries had signed a joint vision for space cooperation in March 2018, months before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Gaganyaan project.

The vision statement envisaged developing technologies for human exploration of the universe under which ISRO and CNES would jointly develop capabilities and critical technologies.

France to train Indian flight surgeons for Gaganyaan mission
 

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Indian astronauts to arrive in Russia for training in February

30 Jan, 20:58

They will undergo training on Russian Soyuz spaceships
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© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

SAMARA, January 30. /TASS/. A group of Indian astronauts will arrive in Russia in February to undergo training, Chief of Russia’s Cosmonaut Training Center Pavel Vlasov announced on Thursday.

"They are arriving in February and the program is intended for one year and a half," Vlasov said.

The Indian astronauts will be training in ‘the spacecraft commander’ and ‘spacecraft flight engineer’ specialties. They will undergo training on Russian Soyuz spaceships.

It was earlier reported that four representatives of India would undergo a selection procedure and training at Russia’s Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in August 2018 that his country would independently send the first national crew into orbit by 2022 when the country celebrates the 75th anniversary of its independence. So far, the flight is scheduled for the end of 2021. Before that, two spaceships are expected to be launched in their un-crewed version. The first Indian manned mission is called Gaganyan (from the Sanskrit word ‘gagana’ - the sky), i.e. the sky vehicle.

Indian astronauts to arrive in Russia for training in February
 

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Fabrication work for Gaganyaan crew capsule has begun :
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Development of Technologies for Gaganyaan : Configuration of Crew Escape System (CES) for Gaganyaan has been finalised. The configuration has five quick acting solid motors which use newly developed high burn rate propellant system. Four nos. of gridded deployable fins are provided in CES for aerodynamic stability. Preliminary design of all metallic structures in CES has been completed and fabrication drawings were released. Material procurement is progressing in fast track mode. Separation of Crew Module (CM) to CES is effected by firing explosive nuts in the linkage system. Design of grid fin deployment mechanism and CES separation system are in advanced stage. Crew Module for Gaganyaan with a height of 3 m & 3.5 m diameter is configured for accommodating a crew of 3. It has a double walled configuration, with inner pressurised shell made of Aluminium alloy having welded construction and external structure configured with CFRP honey comb panels bonded with TPS tiles. The design of structure is in advanced stage and material procurement is in progress.​
The parachute systems are configured with redundancy. An MoU has been signed with Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment [ADRDE], DRDO, Agra for design and realisation of parachute systems.​
The designs of Crew Module to Service Module separation system, Umbilical Retention and Separation System (URSS), Orbital Module to LV separation system and the separation systems required for parachute release are in advanced stage. Development tests have been commenced.​
CES avionics is configured as an independent system including instrumentation system and sequencing system. Instrumentation and telemetry requirements have been finalised. For the Crew Module, configuration of Health Management System (IVHM) and Data Acquisition System (IDAQ) and its electrical interfaces were finalised.​
For the prestigious Gaganyaan mission, Directorate of Systems Reliability and Quality (DSRQ) prepared the document, “Safety and Mission Assurance guidelines for Gaganyaan” jointly with Directorate of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS). Presentations on Human Rating aspects of space missions, human rating certification mechanism and risk management were made to the Gaganyaan review committees. DSRQ is working out Probabilistic Risk Analysis (PRA) methodology for safety analysis as well as calculation of the risk metrics Probability of Loss of Crew, P(LoC) and Probability of Loss of Mission, P(LoM) in Gaganyaan.​
 

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On Test Vehicle Project (TVP) for inflight abort test

Test Vehicle is a single stage liquid propelled launch vehicle being developed to validate the Crew Escape System (CES) performance at different critical Mach numbers, viz, transonic, Qmax, Mach 2.0 and Mach 2.5. Test Vehicle mimics the Human Rated Launch Vehicle trajectory during its atmospheric regime, carries CES as payload and places it at the predefined “M-q’ pill box. This vehicle uses the already proven L-40 earth storable propulsive system with reduced Area Ratio nozzle, new structural elements and full-fledged autonomous avionics & NGC systems. Dual plane Engine Gimbal and Fin Tip Control (4 fins) using electro-hydraulic actuators are planned.​
Microgravity Experiments

To utilise the unmanned missions for scientific purpose as well, 6 microgravity experiments were selected under Announcement of Opportunity (AO) from different academic institutes of the nation.
The budgetary and technical aspects of the experiments have been reviewed. MoUs are planned to be signed with ISRO and the 6 academic institutes towards the development of microgravity experiments.
 
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Star City adventure: Take a sneak peek into India’s first space crew training in Russia

17 Feb, 2020 03:49
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FILE PHOTO: Training in a water immersion facility at the Russian Cosmonaut Training Center in the Star City, Moscow region, Russia. ©Sputnik/Mikhail Fomichev

Four astronauts chosen for India’s first manned space mission have started their training in Russia. The Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center has shared a few tantalizing details of the secretive program with RT.

India intends to send a crew into space in late 2021 or early 2022, aboard the vehicle called Gaganyaan ("Sky Vehicle"), as part of its push to join the elite club of space-going nations. New Delhi has taken up the issue in all seriousness and sent four carefully selected candidates to the GCTC in Star City, to learn from its vast experience in manned spaceflight.

The choice of venue is not surprising. The first – and so far, only – Indian astronaut in space, Rakesh Sharma, flew on board the Soviet Soyuz T-11 spaceship to the famous Salyut-7 space station in 1984. His backup, Ravish Malhotra, also trained at Star City but never went to space.

A very special training course

Details of the training program, including the identities of would-be astronauts, have been kept secret. Officials at the GCTC have been able to share only a few details with RT.

Located just outside Moscow, Star City is still humming with the spirit of early space age. Cosmonaut and astronaut trainees work under the portraits of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in orbit, and live in the same buildings where Aleksey Leonov trained to conduct a spacewalk, before becoming the first human to actually do so.

On average, Russian cosmonauts spend five years in training before they are considered ready to become a part of a space crew. The 12-month course the Indian astronauts have just embarked on is somewhat different – and not just because it is shorter.

“This is a program specifically designed to [suit the needs of the Indian astronauts] and coordinated with the Indian side,” GCTC head Pavel Vlasov told RT, explaining that it involves an enhanced and advanced engineering course in addition to general space training and physical conditioning.

Over the year they will spend at Star City, the Indians are expected to master all the ins and outs of the Russian Soyuz spaceship that will make it much easier for them to eventually pilot the Gaganyaan. To do that, the space crew will also have to learn Russian, since all the on-board inscriptions and documentation inside the Soyuz are in Russian.

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©Roscosmos/Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Center

The Russian specialists are doing their best to help the Indians in coping with the unenviable task of learning a new language within such a short period of time, without slowing down their training. The GCTC has professional interpreters and language tutors within its staff while most instructors have a good command of English as well, even though existing regulations say the training should be provided in Russian only.

Another challenge has been mastering the Russian cuisine. The Indian visitors – both the astronauts and the accompanying staff – have been dining at the GCTC cantina along with their Russian colleagues, and the food is quite different from what they are used to back home. They seem to have taken well to it, Vlasov says, adding that Star City cooks have also seen to the needs of their guests, including offering vegetarian meals and removing meat offerings – such as beef – that would be “unacceptable” to the Indians.

Surviving in winter: Taiga, Steppe and Sea

One of the most exciting parts of the training is a survival course, designed to teach the astronauts what they would need to do should their reentry vehicle land in some wilderness. Right now, the Indians are preparing to spend some time in the woods and swamps of the Moscow region, with only wild animals for company.

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FILE PHOTO: Russian cosmonauts go through a winter forest survival training course - the same as Indians will have to face. ©Roscosmos/Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Center

“First they go through classroom training, then practice, and only then they will be sent as part of two crews, with our instructor on a 3-day-2-night survival [marathon] under real-life conditions,” Vlasov said.

That is not to say they will be all alone in the night, though. A team of doctors will closely monitor their status. The aspiring astronauts will learn to survive with only a standard Soyuz emergency supply at their disposal, Vlasov said.

Vlasov is quite aware that this might be a severe challenge for the Indians, who are not quite used to Russian winters – even as unusually mild as this year has been. After the survival course, the Indians will get a week off to recover.

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FILE PHOTO: Russian cosmonauts go through a steppe survival training course. ©Roscosmos/Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Center

The snow-covered Russian forests and swamps are only the first survival challenge. The Indians are scheduled for a stay in the steppes and even the sea. That last is not a call for panic, though: Instead of the bleak frost of the Arctic Ocean in midwinter, the astronaut candidates will go to the Black Sea resort of Sochi in the summer.

Vlasov is confident the Indians would eventually succeed in overcoming every hardship they could face during the training, since they are experienced and well-trained military specialists, after all.

“It is quite clear that all of them are test pilots with vast flight experience in good physical shape and extensive engineering knowledge. Our training loads should not be too hard for them.”

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FILE PHOTO: A sea survival training is condcuted by the CTC specialists off the Sochi coast, in the Black Sea. ©Roscosmos/Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Center

Sky is no limit

India’s first manned space mission is a “large-scale and high-profile” program not just for New Delhi but for Moscow as well, according to Dmitry Loskutov, director general of Glavkosmos – the Russian space agency’s subsidiary dealing with international space-related contracts, among other things.

Loskutov says that India is eager to learn from Russia’s experience and has agreed with all the training and contract recommendations the Russian side offered. Cooperation between the two nations extends beyond just the space crew training. Moscow and New Delhi are now discussing a possibility of Russia supplying some vital building blocks for the milestone mission, such as life support systems and thermal control.

In addition to working together on the Gaganyaan mission, Russia has welcomed India’s future participation in the International Space Station program and signed a landmark deal in 2018 that includes cooperation on space projects and joint technology development.

New Delhi is rapidly catching up with the leading space nations as it continues to develop its ambitious space program. The Indians have already achieved remarkable successes in rocket- and spaceship-building, conducting dozens of successful space launches.

India became the fourth nation to reach Mars in 2014, when it successfully sent an orbiter to the Red Planet. Its Lunar exploration program is one of the most ambitious as well. Last year, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) attempted to conduct a soft landing near the Moon’s south pole – something no one has done before. The unmanned lunar mission did not go exactly as planned, however – even though the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter arrived successfully, the Vikram lander thrusters failed and it crashed into the moon. ISRO refuses to give up, and is expected to try again in 2021.

Star City adventure: Take a sneak peek into India’s first space crew training in Russia
 

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Without the GSL, the pilots cannot get their proper salaries, allowances and furnished accommodation in Russia under the rules. Nor can their families join them in Russia. As of now, ISRO is making ad hoc payments to them for their sustenance. The bureaucratic lethargy even for a prestigious national mission like Gaganyaan is simply staggering.