In what would be the bravest, toughest and the most ambitious space mission in India’s eventful space history, ISRO has finally received clearance for its over $1.2Bn Gaganyaan manned space mission. The mission’s deadline has been set to 2022, when a 3-manned spacecraft will script history by taking the first Indians aboard an Indian spacecraft into space. Astronauts will spend 7 days in space to carry out space research and various other scientific experiments.

“The Union Cabinet has approved the Gaganyaan project under which a three-member crew will be sent to space for at least seven days”, said Ravi Shankar Prasad in a press conference. The ambitious project was first announced by Indian PM Modi on August 15, as part of his independence speech, wherein he proclaimed that soon, an Indian will go into space aboard an Indian spacecraft. That speech laid the foundation of the approval process, which has officially concluded today.

Gaganyaan is being designed to carry three people, and a planned upgraded version will be equipped with rendezvous and docking capability. In its maiden crewed mission, this mostly autonomous 3.7-tonne capsule will orbit the Earth at 400 km (250 mi) altitude for up to seven days with a three-person crew on board. The crewed vehicle is planned to be launched on ISRO’s GSLV Mk III in 2021. The capsule has been manufactured by HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited). The crew module had its first uncrewed experimental flight on 18 December 2014.

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