|Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Significance of Gaganyaan for India. Various challenges.
Conclusion. Way forward.
The Gaganyaan programme is an indigenous mission that would take Indian astronauts to space. It is an Indian crewed orbital spacecraft that is intended to send 3 astronauts to space by 2022, as part of the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme. The programme will make India the 4th nation in the world to launch a Human Spaceflight Mission.
Significance of Gaganyaan for India:
- Boost to industries: The Indian industry will find large opportunities through participation in the Space missions. Gaganyaan mission is expected to source nearly 60% of its equipment from the Indian private sector.
- Employment: The space organisation would need an additional manpower of 900. Gaganyaan mission would create 15,000 new employment opportunities. It is expected to generate employment and train human resources in advanced technologies. The programme is expected to give impetus to economic activities within the country in terms of human resource development and enhanced industrial capabilities.
- Technological development: Human Space flights are frontier field in science and technology. Human spaceflight programme will provide a unique platform in space for conducting experiments and test bed for future technologies.
- Boost to academic organisations: Gaganyaan Programme is a national effort and will involve the participation of academia and National Agencies. It will establish a broader framework for collaboration between ISRO, academia, industry, national agencies and other scientific organizations.
- Boost to research: It will boost good research and technology development. With a large number of researchers with proper equipment involved, it will thrust significant research in areas such as materials processing, astro-biology, resource mining, planetary chemistry, planetary orbital calculus and many other areas.
- Motivation: Human space flight will provide that inspiration to the youth and also the national public. It will inspire a large number of young students to take up science and technology careers for national development.
- Prestige: India will be the 4th country to launch human space mission. The Gaganyaan will not only bring about prestige to the nation but also establish India’s role as a key player in the space industry.
Challenges of the mission:
- Launch: The GSLV Mk III has been modified to enable human space flights, to be human rated and fail-safe. For a human space flight, the launcher must have a reliability of 98% or above, or only two failures in a 100 launches, which is a big challenge.
- Escape System: It is important to develop a crew escape system to prepare for any emergency from the launch phase onwards and ensure the reliability of such a system. Environmental Control & Life Support System (ELCSS), space suit and crew support systems are still in the developmental phase.
- Astronaut Training: India does not have facilities for rigorous and focused training, such as centrifuges to experience g-forces and aircraft to simulate zero gravity conditions.
- Threat from Space Debris: There is increasing threat of Space debris in the low earth orbits which can result in depressurisation of the cabin of the crew module in case of a collision with small debris.
- Cost: Human space flight missions are not one-time investments required for demonstrating national capability but has to be continued human space flight pursuit with national gain. Therefore, the financial implications are of a concern.
- Private sector: Private sector must be encouraged to support ISRO efforts and develop critical technologies for it.
- Human Capital: Youth should be encouraged through campaigns and media to take an interest in space activities.
- Government support: Government must keep encouraging and supporting ISRO’s efforts. Also government must work toward pitching in private sector in space activities.
In terms of space technology, a manned space programme is the obvious next step for India. Gaganyaan’s success will put India into the elite club of space superpowers. It will help India to put a step forward in developing its own space station. It is important to overcome the technological challenges to ensure a safe, successful manned space mission. International collaboration is important for acquiring needed technology.