The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to fly the first unmanned test mission ahead of its ambitious crewed Gaganyaan mission by the end of 2020, ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said in Thiruvananthapuram on December 28.
The unmanned flight will carry a humanoid, Mr. Sivan said. “This is the plan. The tests required for the unmanned mission will take place next year. We are hoping to carry it out by next year-end,” he said.
ISRO had announced plans for a December 2021 launch for the crewed Gaganyaan mission.
Mr. Sivan said that the astronaut training would start soon. “The selection process is nearing completion. Their training will start soon,” he said.
Chandrayaan-3 would be a copy of Chandrayaan-2, except that it would not carry an orbiter. It would have a rover and a lander, Mr. Sivan said. “We are working on that. There will be no orbiter. Otherwise it will be same as Chandrayaan-2,” he said.
ISRO hoped to complete the 100th mission of its reliable workhorse the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) by 2024, Mr. Sivan said. He was speaking after inaugurating a felicitation organised by the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI) to ISRO scientists as part of celebrating the 50th PSLV flight.
The launch vehicle had completed its 50th mission (PSLV-c48) on December 11 this year. “ISRO is working for that. This is the target that we have fixed,” he said. It has taken ISRO 26 years to complete the first 50 launches.
ISRO also planned to have 12 missions of the PSLV in 2020, he said. “I am sure we will be able to achieve at least 3/4th of that target,” he said.