Monday, May 27

“They Are The Four Powers”: PM Modi Reveals Gaganyaan Astronauts For Next ISRO Mission

Edited by Aishwarya Krishnan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today unveiled the names of the four astronauts selected for India’s prestigious Gaganyaan Mission. These astronauts are currently undergoing intensive training as part of the country’s maiden human space flight mission.

The four astronauts announced today are Group Captains Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair, Angad Pratap, Ajit Krishnan, and Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla.

Addressing the gathering at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thumba, Kerala, the prime minister gave the four test pilots astronaut wings.

Prime Minister Modi emphasised the essential role these four individuals will play in realising the aspirations of 140 crore Indians, “They are not just four names or four human beings, they are the four powers that are going to take the aspirations of 140 crore Indians to space. An Indian is going to space, after 40 years. This time, the time is ours, the countdown is ours, and the rocket is also ours,” as stated in a Mint report.

The historic Gaganyaan Mission is India’s first human space flight programme.

Group Captain Prashanth B. Nair, a Sukhoi fighter pilot hailing from Kerala, is among the distinguished astronauts chosen for the mission. Alongside their rigorous training regimen, the selected astronauts are currently training for the Gaganyaan Mission at ISRO facilities, following their training stint in Russia in 2021.

After several rounds, the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) shortlisted the four test pilots suitable for the mission.

The goal of the mission is to demonstrate India’s human spaceflight capability by launching crew members into a 400-kilometre orbit for a three-day mission, before safely returning them to Earth.

So far, ISRO has successfully completed the acceptance tests of the flight engine chosen for the unmanned Gaganyaan (G1) mission, tentatively scheduled for 2024. Reportedly, the engine has a thrust capacity of 19 to 22 tonnes with a specific impulse of 442.5 seconds.

While the Gaganyaan Mission is scheduled for 2024–25, ISRO is also setting up ‘Bharatiya Antariksha Station’ or the ‘Indian Orbital Station’ by the year 2023 and sending the first Indian to the Moon by 2040.