Indian Space Research Organisation’s Gaganyaan Phase-1 unmanned space mission will likely be delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The ISRO space mission was originally scheduled to take place in December 2020. It is first of the two unmanned space missions preceding the final maiden human spaceflight launch under the Gaganyaan space programme.
Noting the global health crisis, the organization officials had already hinted at a likely delay for many of its space missions. Besides Gaganyaan, India’s third space mission to Moon, Chandrayaan-3 has also been hit by the pandemic disruptions leading to a likely delay.
In a further concern, media reports have also quoted anonymous sources sharing that staff members have also caught infection at ISRO’s variouscenters. The space related industry has also taken a hit during the pandemic and even at ISRO, only essential and process related work is said to be on right now.
ISRO Conveys delay to the Space Commission
After a series of disruptions owing to the pandemic, the ISRO team has officially conveyed a likely delay in the mission to the country’s space commission. Space Commission in India is the top policy making body for various space-related issue. The commission is currently led byK Sivan, ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space.
The prestigious Gaganyaan space mission aims to send an Indian three-member crew to space for duration of around five to seven days by 2022. Notably, the date would mark the successful completion of India’s 75 years of Independence.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also first announced the human space mission during his Independence Day address two years ago in the year 2018. He had said, “”In space technology, we have dreamt something, our scientists have dreamt something. And I am happy to announce that by 2022, the 75th Independence year, we are planning a manned space mission.”
ISRO Hopeful To Meet The 2022 Gaganyaan Deadline
Way ahead of the deadline, India’s premiere space organization had planned the manned spaceflight in December 2021. Thus accordingly, the first phase of unmanned space mission was planned for December 2020 while the second one was set to launch in June 2021 in the following year.
Therefore, the ISRO team is reportedly still hopeful to meet its actual deadline for the Gaganyaan. Notably, the training of India’s four astronauts earlier halted due to the coronavirus and associated health risks has also resumed in Russia.
The entire Ganganyaan space programme is estimated to cost under Rs. 10,000 Cr. The spacecraft launched in the programme will be placed in a low earth orbit of 300-400 kilometres. Marking 75 years of India’s independence, success of Gaganyaan space missions would be a remarkable achievement for both India in the field of space research and exploration.