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India Discloses Crew Members for Gaganyaan LEO Mission

Test capsule for India Gaganyaan mission. Credit ISRO.

Ibadan, 28 February 2024. – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has disclosed the four Indian astronauts that will fly to low-Earth orbit as part of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Gaganyaan mission. The Gaganyaan mission envisages the demonstration of Indian human spaceflight capability by launching a three-person crew to an orbit of 400 km for a three-day mission and bringing them back safely to earth by landing in Indian sea waters. The Prime Minister made the announcement while visiting the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.

Members of the mission crew include Group Captains Prashanth Balakrishnan Nair, Angad Prathap, Ajit Krishnan and Wing Commander Shubanshu Shukla. The crew comprises wing commanders and group captains in the Indian Air Force (IAF) and have extensive experience working as test pilots. In preparation for the mission, the four astronauts have undergone training at the space agency’s astronaut training facility in Bengaluru. However, only three of them will eventually fly to low-earth orbit as part of the Gaganyaan mission.

The crew has undergone classroom training, physical fitness training, simulator training and flight suit training. Furthermore, their training modules cover academic courses, Gaganyaan flight systems, micro-gravity familiarization through Parabolic Flights, aero-medical training, recovery & survival training, mastering flight procedures and training on crew training simulators. The four astronauts also undergo aero-medical training, periodical flying practice and Yoga as part of their training.

ISRO also plans various precursor missions to demonstrate the Technology Preparedness Levels before carrying out the actual Human Space Flight mission. These demonstrator missions include Integrated Air Drop Test (IADT), Pad Abort Test (PAT) and Test Vehicle (TV) flights. As a result, it will prove the safety and reliability of all systems in uncrewed missions preceding crewed missions.

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