The Indian Space Research Organisation is racing against time to launch the first uncrewed mission in December, as part of the human spaceflight programme ‘Gaganyaan‘, due to the adverse impact of the COVID-19-induced lockdowns that has disrupted hardware delivery schedules.
The objective of the Gaganyaan programme is to demonstrate the capability to send humans to low earth orbit on board an Indian launch vehicle and bring them back to earth safely
Officials of the Bengaluru-headquartered space agency said the first and second waves of the pandemic have “severely affected” the Gaganyaan programme.
Hardware elements for the mission is fabricated by the industry, and lockdowns in different parts of the country at different period have adversely impacted delivery schedules.
ISRO’s heavy-lift launcher GSLV Mk III has been identified for the mission.
Formal announcement of the Gaganyaan programme was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day address on August 15, 2018.
ISRO sources said most of the activities relating to the Gaganyaan programme are over, noting that the space agency was working on the project even a decade before the formal announcement was made nearly three years ago.
ISRO is also taking the help of French, Russian and US space agencies in “some of the crucial activities and supply of components”, sources said.