India may send its first person into space soon. Under the Gaganyaan Mission, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will complete the first two trials of its human space mission by the end of 2022, Union Minister of State for Space Jitendra Singh told Parliament on Thursday.
In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, Singh said the ISRO was developing indigenous capabilities towards space tourism by demonstrating human space flight capability to Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
Singh also said ISRO is pursuing international cooperation and relations with 61 countries in varied domains of space activities to boost space diplomacy.
What is Gaganyaan?
On August 15, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Gaganyaan Project to take Indians to space. With a total budget of Rs 9,100 crore, the project aims to develop the indigenous capability to undertake a human space flight mission to LEO.
Singh also said that the two trials of the project are expected to be completed by the end of 2022. In the first trial, an unmanned flight will be sent into space. While in the second, a robot named Vyomitra will be sent to space.
Later, in the third trial, 2 ‘Gaganauts’ will be sent on the space flight. ‘Gaganauts’ is the name of four Indian air force pilots sent to Russia for training. These four pilots will choose two astronauts to be sent into space.
Push for private investment
Singh also said that the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), the regulator for private sector space players, also seeks to promote active participation of the private sector in carrying out end-to-end space activities, which includes space tourism as well.
He added that the Department of Space is in the process of drafting a comprehensive, integrated Space Policy, which shall provide direction to the activities of the private Indian space industry.
(With inputs from agencies)