India's Gaganyaan Mission: A Step Closer to Human Spaceflight

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India's Gaganyaan Mission: A Step Closer to Human Spaceflight

India has taken a significant step towards its aspiration of sending humans into space. Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the names of the four Indian Air Force (IAF) astronauts who will undertake the Gaganyaan mission. This mission will make India the fourth country to independently launch a manned spaceflight.

The astronaut-designates are Prashanth Nair, Angad Prathap, Ajit Krishnan, and Shubhanshu Shukla, all experienced IAF test pilots. Their selection marks a significant milestone that brings India closer to its goal of joining the United States, Russia, and China as the only nations to have achieved manned space missions.

The Gaganyaan mission will carry three astronauts into a low earth orbit for a three-day period. The selected astronauts have undergone rigorous training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia and the Astronaut Training Facility in Bengaluru. Their training encompasses theoretical knowledge, physical fitness, simulator practice, and micro-gravity familiarization.

The mission is scheduled to launch in 2024 with an initial unmanned mission followed by the crewed flight. The Launch Vehicle Mark (LVM) rocket will propel the astronauts into space. The mission will also feature Vyommitra, a female humanoid robot, as a prototype for future crewed missions.

India's space ambitions have been bolstered by its recent successes in space exploration, including the successful soft landing of Chandrayaan-3 on the Moon's South Pole and the launch of Aditya-L1, India's first solar mission. The Gaganyaan mission represents the next exciting chapter in India's space journey.