India’s first human space mission “Gaganyaan” will not be affected by COVID pandemic: Dr.Jitendra Singh

India’s first human space mission “Gaganyaan” will not be affected by COVID pandemic: Dr.Jitendra Singh

New Delhi I The Gaganyaan mission, an indigenous mission that would take Indian astronauts to space, will take place as planned and has not been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space.

The Gaganyaan mission, was announced by the prime minister during his Independence Day speech in 2018.

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, Dr Jitendra Singh said that even though because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the training of four Indian astronauts in Russia had to be halted, yet the opinion of Chairman ISRO and the scientific team is that there had been kept a “cushion” both in the training programme and launch deadline.The training of astronauts has now been resumedand the launch is scheduled to take place as planned, before the 75th anniversary of India’s independence in 2022, he said.

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Elaborating on the cabinet decision to encourage private participation in ISRO activities, Dr Jitendra Singh said, a regulatory body called “Indian National Space Promotion & Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe)” is to be established. This will help provide a level playing field to private players and encourage their participation, he said.

Dr Jitendra 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 in search of a break.

About Chandrayaan-3 Lunar mission, Dr Jitendra Singh said, as of today, it is planned for launch next year. 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 is fully operational, he added.