Union Minister Jitendra Singh announced the scheduled launch of the unmanned Vyommitra Mission for the third quarter of this year.
Robot Astronaut Vyommitra to Precede India’s First Crewed Spaceflight in Gaganyaan Mission
India is gearing up to launch Vyommitra, a robotic astronaut, into space before the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) highly anticipated Gaganyaan mission, marking the nation’s inaugural manned space journey. According to Union Minister Jitendra Singh, the Vyommitra Mission, an unmanned initiative, is expected to take off in the latter part of this year, setting the stage for the Gaganyaan manned mission planned for 2025.
Named Vyommitra, a blend of the Sanskrit words for ‘space’ (vyoma) and ‘friend’ (mitra), the robot is designed to replicate human functions in space. It will be capable of monitoring spacecraft parameters, alerting to issues, executing life-support operations, and performing tasks like operating panels and answering questions, Singh detailed in a Press Information Bureau (PIB) statement.
This robotic mission aims to test and simulate human activities in space, ensuring the life support system’s compatibility with human presence. The preparation for Gaganyaan includes the successful completion of the first test vehicle flight TV D1 on October 21, 2023, aimed at qualifying the crew escape and parachute systems. The launch vehicle has been fully rated for human travel, with all propulsion stages qualified and ready.
The Gaganyaan project aims to showcase human spaceflight capabilities by sending astronauts to a 400 km orbit and returning them safely to Earth.
Additionally, Singh mentioned the Chandrayaan-3 Mission’s progress, which successfully landed near the Moon’s south pole on August 23, 2023. The mission is on course, and the significant data it collects will soon be made public.