ISRO has come about as a strong competitor/partner for space companies like NASA and SpaceX. In ISRO, India found one of the world’s most versatile space agency that operates in limited resources yet performs exceptionally well. Due to the success that the space agency has garnered over the last years, India has become a big name in the space race.

To add on to that ever-growing list of achievements, ISRO is currently planning to send its first human operated spacecraft to space by 2022, and in light of that the agency has announced that it will be launching its ‘Gaganyaan’ crewed orbital spacecraft later this year(assuming no delay) with a robotic passenger on board.

The half humanoid passenger will be called ‘Vyommitra’ which will be the only passenger boarding the Gaganyaan test mission, which is set to take off in December this year. The robot has a list of functions that makes it the perfect candidate(and test subject) for this mission, from being able to operate switch panels to control the capsule, to being a “companion” to other crew members and conversing with the astronauts, recognizing them and responding to their queries,” as the robot itself explained on its unveiling this week.

Other features for Vyommitra include being able to perform all “crew” operations like controlling environmental and life support systems. The robot is bilingual and looks exactly like a human being as it is designed to have an expressive face and lip-synch capabilities for relaying info via voice. It is supposed to be the perfect test subject and the data collected from the flight and Vyommitra itself will become crucial in planning an actual manned operation.

ISRO has garnered worldwide fame, as it has built quite a resume for itself over the years. The space agency launched 104 satellites in a single go , setting a record for the most number of satellites launched simultaneously on one rocket. The company also launched an orbiter to Mars’ orbit, in one of the cheapest missions the world had ever seen. Recently, the agency almost succeeded in landing on the surface of the moon, having to suffice itself with a successful orbiter launch but failed landing.