ISRO’s Gaganyaan 2024 space mission: total cost, benefits and purpose

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India is about to achieve a new breakthrough in space exploration. Gaganyaan, the first manned spaceflight mission is expected to launch in 2024, said Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology. ISRO’s manned space mission will send a three-member crew into a low Earth orbit (LEO) of 300 to 400 kilometers. The total cost of the Gaganyaan program is around ₹9023.00 crore.

ISRO's Gaganyaan 2024 space mission: total cost, benefits and purpose

According to ISRO, the goal of the Gaganyaan program is to demonstrate indigenous capability to undertake human spaceflight missions to LEO. The manned spaceflight program will lay the foundation for a sustained long-term Indian manned space exploration program. The Government of India (GoI) has approved two unmanned missions and one manned mission as part of ISRO’s ambitious space mission.

Prior to the manned mission, ISRO will fly two unmanned missions, which are essential for technology demonstration, safety and reliability verification. These pre-missions would be heavily instrumented to study the performance of the systems before the crewed flight. ISRO will be responsible for overall program coordination, systems engineering and implementation. Some private actors are also extending their support to make the mission a success.

Astronaut trainees are selected from a pool of test pilots based on selection criteria jointly defined by ISRO and the Indian Air Force, which include flight experience, physical fitness, psychological and aeromedical assessment (including anthropometric parameters).

ISRO has brought tangible and intangible benefits to the nation as a result of the implementation of the Gaganyaan program. According to ISRO:

• Progress towards a sustained and affordable human and robotics program to explore the solar system and beyond.
• Advanced technological capability to undertake human space exploration, sample return missions and scientific exploration.
• Future ability to actively collaborate in the global development of the space station and to conduct scientific experiments of national interest.
• Create a general framework for a wider partnership between university and industry in supporting development activities for national development.
• Vast opportunities for job creation and human resource development in advanced science and R&D activities.
• A unique opportunity to inspire and excite Indian youth and steer many students towards careers in science and technology into challenging jobs that encourage knowledge, innovation and creativity.
• The program will strengthen international partnerships and global security by sharing challenging and peaceful goals. Having a dynamic human spaceflight program can be used as a powerful foreign policy tool.

After the successful completion of the Gaganyaan program, ISRO will focus on realizing the capability for a sustainable human presence in space. A dedicated space station in the near future can exponentially boost India’s space exploration. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) intends to use the Indian space station as a platform to conduct scientific and industrial research in a wide range of basic, applied and engineering sciences.

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Article first published: Thursday, September 15, 2022, 10:29 a.m. [IST]


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Richard V. Johnson