Addressing the nation on the 72nd Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that by 2022, an Indian astronaut will go to space aboard the ‘Gaganyaan’ spacecraft, which is currently under development. A tweet (in Hindi, signed by the Prime Minister) was also posted regarding the same through the PMO India’s official Twitter handle.
Translated to English, it reads, “It’s very fortunate that on this auspicious occasion (72nd Independence Day), I’ve gotten the opportunity to give another piece of good news to the nation. In year 2022, when the country celebrates its 75th Independence Day, India will take the tricolor to space.”
आज मेरा सौभाग्य है कि इस पावन अवसर पर मुझे देश को एक और खुशखबरी देने का अवसर मिला है। साल 2022, यानि आजादी के 75वें वर्ष में और संभव हुआ तो उससे पहले ही, भारत अंतरिक्ष में तिरंगा लेकर जा रहा है: PM @narendramodi
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) August 15, 2018
For those unaware, ‘Gaganyaan’ is a manned orbital spacecraft that’s intended to be the basis of the Indian human spaceflight program.
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If the plan comes to fruition, India will become the fourth nation (after the United States, Russia, and China) to send an astronaut into space. India’s space exploration agency – ISRO – has already sent unmanned probes to the Moon and Mars.
The first lunar probe was ‘Chandrayaan-1,’ which was launched in 2008 and remained in operation till 2009. ‘Mangalyaan’ (Mars Orbiter Mission), the country’s first planetary probe, was launched in 2013 and has been orbiting the ‘Red Planet’ since 2014.
Last month, ISRO successfully tested a capsule that will carry an Indian astronaut to space under the ‘Gaganyaan’ mission. ISRO used nearly 300 sensors to record various mission performance parameters during the test flight. The goal was to take away the crew module to a safe distance without exceeding the safe g-force levels. As part of the recovery protocol, ISRO deployed three recovery boats to retrieve the module.