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Gaganyaan: India Unveils Pioneering Astronauts For Historic Space Mission

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(CTN News) – In a momentous announcement, India has revealed the four distinguished Air Force pilots who have been chosen to embark on the nation’s inaugural space flight, scheduled for the upcoming year.

The mission, known as Gaganyaan, aims to dispatch three astronauts into an orbit 400 kilometers above Earth, with a return journey anticipated after three days.

India’s esteemed space agency, Isro, has diligently conducted a series of tests in meticulous preparation for the groundbreaking mission.

A pivotal achievement in October involved a successful demonstration of the crew’s ability to safely escape the rocket in the event of a malfunction.

Following this triumph, Isro disclosed plans for a test flight in 2024, involving a robot, paving the way for astronauts to venture into space in 2025.

Honoring India’s Space Pioneers: Astronauts Embark on Celestial Journey

In a ceremony held at the Isro center in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday, the four astronaut-designates were lauded as “dreamers, adventurers, and valiant individuals preparing to embark on a celestial journey.”

Hailing from the Indian Air Force, the officers were introduced as Group Captain Prashanth Balakrishnan Nair, Group Captain Ajit Krishnan, Group Captain Angad Pratap, and Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with Isro chief S Somanath, adorned the astronauts with badges featuring golden wings during the ceremony.

Modi, expressing immense pride, referred to them as “India’s pride” and emphasized their role as “four powers” carrying the aspirations of 1.4 billion Indians into space.

“These are not just four names or four people. They are four powers who will carry the aspirations of 1.4 billion Indians to space. I congratulate and wish them all the best,” Modi remarked.

Officials revealed that the selected individuals underwent a rigorous selection process from a pool of Air Force pilots, including extensive physical and psychological evaluations.

The astronauts have completed an intensive 13-month training program in Russia and are now continuing their demanding schedule in India.

A video showcased at the event highlighted their dedication, depicting them engaged in workouts, swimming, and yoga sessions.

Isro Reveals Vyommitra: India’s Space Companion for Upcoming Historic Mission

In a captivating development, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) provided a glimpse of Vyommitra, the female humanoid set to embark on a space mission later this year.

The term “Vyommitra” translates to “space friend” in Sanskrit, symbolizing the human-like robotic companion that will play a pivotal role in India’s ambitious Gaganyaan Mission.

The Gaganyaan Mission marks India’s inaugural human space flight program, with meticulous preparations underway at various Isro centers.


Gaganyaan Project: India’s Soaring Ambitions in Space Exploration

Named after the Sanskrit word for “craft” or “vehicle to the sky,” the Gaganyaan project has incurred a budget of 90 billion rupees ($1 billion; £897 million).

Success in the Gaganyaan Mission would position India as the fourth country globally to send a human into space, following the footsteps of the Soviet Union, the US, and China.

Despite arriving decades after the Soviet Union and the US initiated space journeys to the low Earth orbit in 1961, India’s entrance into this elite league has generated significant interest.

India has a history in space exploration, with an Indian astronaut, Rakesh Sharma, venturing into space as early as 1984, spending nearly eight days aboard a Russian spacecraft.

In the preceding year, India achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first country to land near the Moon’s south pole in August 2023.

Building on this success, India launched Aditya-L1, its inaugural observation mission to the Sun, just weeks later. The spacecraft is currently in orbit, monitoring the Sun, our solar system’s crucial and dynamic celestial body.

Looking ahead, India has set ambitious space goals, announcing plans to establish a space station by 2035 and sending an astronaut to the Moon by 2040.

These initiatives underscore India’s growing prominence in the realm of space exploration, positioning it as a key player in the international space community.

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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