Union Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh has assured that the launch of India’s first human space mission ‘Gaganyaan’ will not be affected by COVID-19 pandemic and preparations were well on track.
Briefing about the important achievements of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Department of Space over the last one year and some of the important missions planned for the future on Monday, Dr. Jitendra Singh said that although the training of four Indian astronauts in Russia was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the opinion of Chairman ISRO and the scientific team was that a “cushion” was kept both for the training programme and launch deadline.
The training of astronauts has now been resumed and the launch is scheduled to take place as planned, before the 75th anniversary of India’s independence in 2022, he said.
Elaborating on the cabinet decision to encourage private participation in space exploration, Dr. Singh said, a regulatory body called Indian National Space Promotion & Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) is to be established. This will help provide a level playing field for private players and encourage their participation.
Dr. Singh said, besides enhancing the capacity and resources of our space missions, increased participation of private players will also discourage the brain drain of talented space scientists and experts who were otherwise moving out of India.
About the Chandrayaan-3 Lunar mission, Dr. Singh said, that as of today, it was planned for launch in 2021. This mission will involve a lander, rover and a propulsion system to carry the modules to move but it would not have orbiter as the previous orbiter was fully operational, he added.