Indian Human Spaceflight Initiative (HSI): Gaganyaan Programme

  Jul 04, 2020

Indian Human Spaceflight Initiative (HSI): Gaganyaan Programme

What is Gaganyan mission?

Gaganyaan Programme is first Human Spaceflight of India to low earth orbit for a mission duration ranging from one orbital period to a maximum of seven days. 

A human rated GSLV Mk-lll will be used to carry the orbital module which will have necessary provisions for sustaining a 3-member crew for the duration of the mission.

The necessary infrastructure for crew training, realization of flight systems and ground infrastructure will be established to support the Gaganyaan Programme. 

ISRO will collaborate extensively with National agencies, laboratories, academia and industry to accomplish the Gaganyaan Programme objectives.

PM announced Gaganyan to launched by 2022 when India will celebrate 75 years of independence. 

Strategic shift in ISROs outlook?

Vikram Sarabhai wanted India to use space technology to solve “real problems of man and society”.

After having followed Sarabhai’s vision for four decades during which ISRO contributed immensely to nation’s development through communication and earth observation satellites, the agency has finally decided to turn the “fantasy” of a manned space flight into reality. 

ISRO is already a pioneer in space applications and space science now its plan to venture in to manned missions will keep India at forefront of space technology. 

Critical Technologies for Human Space Flight (HSF):  

  1. Orbital Module: Divided into a crew module to house the astronauts and a service module that maintains the speed and orientation of the spacecraft 
  2. Crew Escape System: In case of a malfunction at launch, crew capsule will be ejected to a safe distance
  3. Crew Module: Has to be tested for maintaining temperature and pressure comfortable for humans
  4. Deep Space Network: Need to track the module 24*7 as it orbits the earth
  5. Re-entry and Recovery system: System to withstand high temperatures (due to friction with the air) when the spacecraft re-enters earth’s atmosphere.
  6. ISRO scientists successfully demonstrated the re-entry technology to keep the astronauts cool and safe when they carried out a Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) in December 2014.
  7. Rocket Launcher: The GSLV Mark III has been modified to improve reliability and accommodate orbital module
  8. Astronaut Training: Crew has to be trained to operate in zero gravity, withstand high g-forces on launch and re-entry. ISRO might seek foreign collaboration for astronaut training
  9. Space suits for astronauts.

Foreign collaboration? 

Astronaut training in Russia after initial training by IAF

French space agency:

ISRO and CNES, the French space agency, will be combining their expertise in fields of space medicine, astronaut health monitoring, life support, radiation protection, space debris protection and personal hygiene systems.

Benefits of HSI (Human spaceflight Initiative)

Impact of HSI

Challenges to mission Gaganyan;

1. Technological Challenges

2. Threat from Space Debris

3. Financial Implications

Future of human spaceflight initiative of ISRO

Manned mission to moon and space station.

Indian space station would be extension of human space flight mission.      

Chandrayaan 3

ISRO has also quietly begun work on another soft-landing mission to the moon with most of the same features of Chandrayaan-2 and almost on the back of the failure of the latter’s lander on the lunar surface on September 7.

It will be almost a repetition of the July 2019 Chandrayaan-2 mission in the configuration of spacecraft, the landing spot on the moon and the experiments to be conducted on the lunar surface.

The third mission is ISRO’s bid to realize for itself the difficult technology of soft-landing on another planetary body. The agency is undertaking it as the landing module of the second mission crashed barely five minutes before it was to have landed on the lunar surface.

Chandrayan 1, 2, 3

Chandrayaan 1C2C3
Launch dateOctober 22, 200822 July 2019Proposed early 2021

1.To perform high-resolution remote sensing of the moon.

2. to prepare a three-dimensional atlas of Moon.

aims at studying not just one area of the Moon but all the areas combining the exosphere, the surface as well as the sub-surface of the moon in a single mission.Fulfill objectives of C2 lander and rover after lander Vikram failed

Expand the lunar scientific knowledge through detailed study of topography, seismography, mineral identification and distribution, surface chemical composition, thermo-physical characteristics of top soil and composition of the tenuous lunar atmosphere, leading to a new understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon.

Understand evolution of moon and early history of earth.

Studies on the extent of water molecule distribution on the surface.

Promising test bed to demonstrate technologies required for deep-space missions.

Offers an undisturbed historical record of the inner Solar system environment. 
ComponentsOrbiter spacecraft


2.Vikram Lander

3.Pragyan Rover



payloadsTotal 11 payloads from India and abroad

Orbiter –8 payloads

Vikram lander-3payloads

Pragyan rover- 2payloads

launcherPSLV C11GSLV Mk-III --
Lander location--South pole*South pole*

Why south pole?

The Lunar South pole is especially interesting because of the lunar surface area that remains in shadow is much larger than that at the North Pole. There could be a possibility of presence of water in permanently shadowed areas around it. In addition, South Pole region has craters that are cold traps and contain a fossil record of the early Solar System.