Gaganyaan: ISRO to build Rs 2,700 crore astronaut training facility but it may not complete in time

Human Space Flight Space Centre (HSFC) will be built at Challakere a town in the Chitradurga district of Karnataka.


With the mission to send humans to space becoming a reality, India's space agency is leaving no stone unturned to get the best for their astronauts. Gaganyaan will see Indian astronauts go to space for the first time and they will receive their training in Russia. But the country is paying a ‘hefty sum’ to do so, reported The Hindu.

ISRO wants to construct a training facility for its astronauts and has proposed a plan that will cost Rs 2,700 crore. The Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) will be built at Challakere a town in the Chitradurga district of Karnataka.

 Gaganyaan: ISRO to build Rs 2,700 crore astronaut training facility but it may not complete in time

GSLV MkIII at Sriharikota launchpad. Image credit: ISRO

Special astronaut facilities

The budget for the HSFC is not included in the Gaganyaan mission budget of Rs 10,000-crore. The centre may take two to three years to complete. However, in a previous press conference, K Sivan, ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space said that they will begin the first tests for Gaganyaan by the end of the year and the most likely date for the first human spaceflight will be in 2022. The centre will most likely not be ready for us till then.

According to a press release from ISRO, the centre was to be responsible for the implementation of the Gaganyaan project and should have been involved in all the end-to-end mission planning, development of engineering systems for crew survival in space, crew selection and training and also pursue activities for sustained human space flight missions.

Also Read: Four astronauts shortlisted for Gaganyaan; Chandrayaan 3 gets govt approval says ISRO chief K Sivan

“Everything connected with events and planning of the Human Spaceflight Programme (HSP) will shift to our campus at Challakere. We want to establish a self-contained facility there so that in future, whatever training and activities we are now doing in Russia for the Gaganyaan crew can all be done by us here. When ready, the 400-acre ISRO land at Challakere will be the single-stop consolidating infrastructure and activities related to space travellers,” said Sivan in an interview with The Hindu.

The ISRO space suit for astronauts in the Gaganyaan mission, displayed at the Bengaluru Space Expo. Image credit: Twitter/Nagarjun Dwarkanath

The ISRO space suit for astronauts in the Gaganyaan mission, displayed at the Bengaluru Space Expo. Image credit: Twitter/Nagarjun Dwarkanath

Also Read: Training for astronaut candidates begins in Russia, but still no women test pilots who 'qualify'?

The HSFC was formally announced and inaugurated on 30 January 2019. Work on the HSP is currently divided in different in buildings of ISRO’s headquarters in Bengaluru.

There is a need to have our own facilities that will help in the training of our astronauts if we want to continue sending human beings to space.

"We are going to have a sustained HSP and will need a large number of facilities for training (future) astronauts,” said Sivan

The town of Challakere is called the Science City and ISRO, the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s Advanced Aeronautical Test Range, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and the Indian Institute of Science have their facilities there.

Astronauts need to be quarantined after they return back to earth from space and ISRO plans on adding a much-needed quarantine facility at the second launch pad in the Sriharikota spaceport. This will also ensure that the astronauts who are to go to space are not exposed to anything as well

Among many human-rated projects, the second launch pad and the launch vehicle, the GSLV-MkIII that was used to launch Chandrayaan 2 will also be modified for crew safety and comfort.

Gaganyaan

Gaganyaan will see India sending human beings into space for the first time for a minimum of seven days in 2022.

The spacecraft, that will carry the astronauts, will be developed by ISRO and will consist of a service module and a crew module, collectively known as the Orbital Module.

Russia has offered India its services to train the astronauts and to also conduct their medical test. Four Indian males, form the indian airforce have been selected to become the first Indian astronauts in space.

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