Less than 90 days ago Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India’s first human space flight mission, Gaganyaan, which will launch in 40 months from now. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has already started the process of drawing up a shortlist of experiments it could conduct in the low earth orbit (LEO). LEO is where ISRO plans to send Indian astronauts.

Prior to the manned mission, ISRO would conduct two unmanned missions, the first one in 30 months and the second in 36 months, he said, adding that the entire mission would cost the exchequer less than Rs 10,000 crore. So far, only the US, Russia and China have successfully launched manned space missions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his recent Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort, announced that an Indian astronaut would be in space before the country celebrates its 75th Independence Day, which falls in 2022.

As it is planned currently, an Indian astronaut, who is yet to be chosen, would be stationed at an altitude of 400 km from earth for 5-7 days and ISRO is looking at a group of 10 experiments to be performed in low earth orbit, where it intends to send astronauts. The experiments could include testing of medical equipment or micro-biological experiments such as biological air filters or biosensors, life-support, and biomedical waste management or space.

Moreover, other areas for experiments include astrobiology/chemistry, space medicine, hazards prediction and modelling , sensor development, microbiology experiments, life sciences in a space environment, life support and bio-waste management there, fundamental physics, fluid and materials, and space to ground communication technologies.The suggested experiments could be a continuation of existing research work, or completely new ideas and would involve premier institutes across India.

The ISRO official also explained that although they have indicated 10 areas that they’re interested in, they will not restrict experiments to these areas alone. So far the Gaganyaan mission is ISRO’s biggest in history.

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