Gaganyaan: ISRO introduces four astronaut-designates for India’s manned space mission

PM bestows the IAF officers with ‘Astronaut wings’, ISRO targeting launch in 2025

Gaganyaan mission astronauts The four astronaut-designates selected for Gaganyaan mission

The Indian Space Research Organisation on Tuesday introduced the four astronaut-designates for India’s ambitious human space flight programme Gaganyaan. The four Indian Air Force officers were bestowed with ‘astronaut wings’ by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The four astronaut-designates – Group Captain Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair, Group Captain Ajit Krishnan, Group Captain Angad Pratap and Wing Commander Shubanshu Shukla. The selected candidates have undergone 13 months of training in Russia. 

The prime minister visited Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram and inaugurated three projects - the PSLV Integration Facility (PIF) at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota; new ‘Semi-cryogenics Integrated Engine and stage Test facility’ at ISRO Propulsion Complex at Mahendragiri; and ‘Trisonic Wind Tunnel’ at VSSC, Thiruvananthapuram. “These three projects providing world-class technical facilities for the space sector have been developed at a cumulative cost of about Rs. 1,800 crore,” a release said. 

Prime Minister reviewed the progress of the Gaganyaan Mission during the visit. “The Gaganyaan Mission is India’s first human space flight programme for which extensive preparations are underway at various ISRO centres,” it said. 

ISRO targets to launch Ganganyaan in 2025 and ISRO chairman S. Somanath had earlier said that 2024 will be a year of "Gaganyaan readiness” for the space agency. Earlier, in an exclusive interview with THE WEEK, Somanath said, “The first human space flight mission is scheduled for 2025. But before that, we have 20 major tests that need to be completed―which include the test vehicle flights―and the minor tests which are in the hundreds. I can tell you that [the process is] going at a fast pace in terms of engineering and we have a full grip on it.” 

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