Gaganyaan-India’s Human Spaceflight Initiative

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The Gaganyaan programme, an indigenous mission that would take Indian astronauts to space, was announced by the prime minister during his Independence Day speech this year.

The Union Cabinet, chaired by PM Narendra Modi, on December 28, 2018 approved the Gaganyaan Programme.

This will be India’s first manned mission. When completed, this would make India only a fourth nation to send a human in the space after the USA, RUSSIA and CHINA.

The GSLV Mk-lll rocket will be used to carry the orbital module which will have necessary provisions for sustaining a 3-member crew for the duration of the mission.

The approval came following the demonstration of Indian Human Spaceflight capability to low earth orbit for a mission duration ranging from one orbital period to a maximum of 7 days.

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Gaganyaan Programme

The Gaganyaan Mission is a national effort and will involve the participation of the Industry, Academia and National Agencies spread across the length and breadth of the country.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will collaborate extensively with National agencies, laboratories, academia and industry to accomplish the Gaganyaan Programme objectives.

The Programme will require a total expenditure of around Rs 10,000 crore. This expense includes the cost of technology development and essential infrastructure elements.

Two unmanned flights and one manned flight will be undertaken as part of Gaganyaan Programme.

Flight typeProposed month & yearCrew
Test Flight 12020 – Decembern/a
Test Flight 22021 – Junen/a
Crewed2021 – December3

Significance Of The Gaganyaan Mission

  • The programme is expected to spur research and development within the country in science and technology domains.
  • Gaganyaan has huge potential for technology development in areas such as medicine, agriculture, industrial safety, pollution, waste management, water and food resource management etc.
  • The manned mission will provide a unique micro-gravity platform in space for conducting experiments and test bed for future technologies.
  • Human Spaceflight capability will enable India to participate as a collaborating partner in future global space exploration initiatives with long term national benefits.


  • It will establish a broader framework for collaboration between ISRO, academia, industry, national agencies and other scientific organizations.
  • It will allow collaboration of diverse technological and industrial capabilities.
  • Gaganyaan mission will enable broader participation in research opportunities and technology development benefiting a large number of students and researchers.
  • It is expected to generate employment and train human resources in advanced technologies.
  • Gaganyaan will inspire a large number of young students to take up science and technology careers for national development.

Key Features 

  • The Gaganyaan mission was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 72nd Independence Day speech.
  • After that, the ISRO on August 28, 2018 unveiled the details of the Gaganyaan mission.
  • India’s first manned space mission ‘Gaganyaan’ will be launched by ISRO by 2022.
  • The mission will send a three-member crew to space for a period of five to seven days.
  • Prior to the actual launch of this manned mission by 2022, the ISRO will launch two unmanned Gaganyaan missions.
  • It weighs approximately 7 tonnes and will be carried by rocket.
  • The crew module’s size will be 3.7 meters and 7 meters.
  • GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle will be used to launch Gaganyaan.
  • This spacecraft will be placed in a low earth orbit of 300-400 km.
  • The spacecraft will comprise of a crew module and service module that constitute an orbital module.
  • After the takeoff, the manned flight will reach the orbit in 16 minutes.
  • The crew will do the microgravity experiment during the Gaganyaan mission.
  • Likewise, the crew will be selected by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and ISRO jointly after which they will undergo training for two-three years.
  • Lastly, while coming back to the Earth, could land in the Arabian Sea off the Gujarat coast or in the Bay of Bengal or even on land.

GSLV Mk-lll’s Role

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  • The ISRO has already completed the development of launch vehicle GSLV Mk-lll with a necessary payload.
  • It has the capability to launch a 3-member crew module in low earth orbit will help the Gaganyaan.
  • The crew escape system which is an essential technology tested for human space flight.
  • Aerodynamic characterization of crew module completed as part of GSLV Mk-lll X mission flight.