PM Modi Declares Four Astronauts of Gaganyaan Mission

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Group Captains Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair, Ajit Krishnan, and Angad Pratap, along with Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla of the Indian Air Force, have been selected for India’s inaugural crewed space mission.

On February 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi disclosed the names of the four astronauts chosen to participate in India’s crewed space flight mission, Gaganyaan. During his visit to the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, Modi conferred “astronaut wings” upon Group Captains Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair, Ajit Krishnan, and Angad Pratap, as well as Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla.

“I am delighted to have had the chance to meet these astronauts today and introduce them to the nation. On behalf of the entire country, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to them. You are the pride of modern India,” Modi expressed.

Modi emphasized that the astronaut-designates embody the hopes and dreams of 1.40 billion people as he reviewed the advancements of the Gaganyaan mission.

The Gaganyaan mission stands as India’s inaugural human space flight program, for which comprehensive preparations are currently underway at various Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) facilities.

According to ISRO, the Gaganyaan project aims to showcase India’s ability for human spaceflight by launching a three-member crew into a 400 km orbit for a three-day mission, returning them safely to Earth with a landing in the Indian Ocean.

The prerequisites for the Gaganyaan mission include the development of several critical technologies, such as a human-rated launch vehicle to transport the crew safely to space, a life support system to maintain a habitable environment for the crew, provisions for crew emergency escape, and the establishment of protocols for crew training, recovery, and rehabilitation. The mission is scheduled for a launch in late 2025.

Additionally, the Prime Minister visited the VSSC to inaugurate three significant technical facilities of ISRO.

The projects include the PSLV Integration Facility (PIF) located at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, a new Semi-cryogenics Integrated Engine and Stage Test Facility at the ISRO Propulsion Complex in Mahendragiri, and the Trisonic Wind Tunnel at VSSC in Thiruvananthapuram.

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, these three projects, aimed at providing technical infrastructure for the space sector, have been collectively developed at a cost of approximately Rs 1,800 crore.

Prime Minister Modi, during his visit to Kerala, highlighted that India’s achievements in the space sector are fostering a scientific mindset among the nation’s youth.