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India’s manned spaceflight mission likely to be delayed a year due to pandemic | India News

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BENGALURU: India’s first manned spaceflight mission, Gaganyaan, is likely to be delayed for a year due to the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to officials from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
In accordance with Gaganyaan’s mandate, two unmanned missions would be conducted prior to the manned mission.
Consequently, the unmanned missions were scheduled for launch in December 2020 and July 2021, and the first manned mission was scheduled for December 2021.
“That will be delayed due to Covid,” ISRO President Kailasavadivoo Sivan told PT I.
“Our goal is next year’s end or next year,” he said of the planned timeline for the first of two proposed unmanned missions.
The Gaganyaan project aims to demonstrate the human spaceflight capability to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) with three crew members in orbit and safely retrieve them after the mission.
Bengaluru-based ISRO said last month that its heavy lift launcher, GSLV MkIII, is identified for the Gaganyaan mission and that the human qualification process for this rocket is in progress.
S200 high thrust solid propellant belt thrusters play an important role in the human-rated GSLV MkIII. To qualify the amplifier, many new design features have been introduced into the hardware.
The first critical reinforcement segment of the engine housing with a diameter of 3.2 meters, 8.5 meters in length and a weight of 5.5 tons has been developed and delivered by L&T to ISRO.
“This is the first step towards unmanned space mission,” said an ISRO official.
Sivan also said that work on the Chandrayaan-3 mission, which comprises a lander and a rover, is in progress.
“We have not yet set the timetable (for the launch of Chandrayaan-3),” he said.
On the proposed orbital mission to Venus, “Shukrayaan” said ISRO has not yet finalized the payloads, adding that work on the project continues.
According to ISRO officials, the space agency has shortlisted 20 proposals for space-based experiments for the ‘Shukrayaan’ mission to study the planet for more than four years.
They include “collaborative contributions” from Russia, France, Sweden and Germany, sources at the space agency said.
ISRO was considering June 2023 for the country’s first mission to Venus.
“But we are currently reviewing the schedule for this mission due to delays arising from the pandemic situation,” an ISRO official said.
“The future launch opportunity is in 2024 or 2026.”
It was noted that the optimal launch window (when Venus is closest to Earth) occurs every 19 months.
Of the Indian and international payload proposals it received in response to an announcement of opportunity for new space experiments to study Venus, ISRO has shortlisted 20.

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