Women astronauts in ISRO spaceflight: K Sivan declares major space missions

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ISRO chairman K Sivan
ISRO chairman K Sivan

New Delhi : The upcoming Gaganyaan mission by ISRO will likely include women astronauts, the Chief K Sivan hinted today. 

In a press conference held at ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru on Friday, 11 January 2019, ISRO Chief K Sivan has listed out upcoming space missions before the media. Sivan declares major missions like the Gaganyaan and the GSAT 20 satellite launch as part of the organisation's plans for 2019.

K Sivan said that ISRO will launch 32 missions throughout the year, listing out the new technologies in the works as well. He said that the approval for the Gaganyaan mission has been a major turning point for ISRO. He said that the first non-human spaceflight, Gaganyaan mission - will take place in December 2020 and the first human spaceflight Gaganyaan mission will take place a year later in December 2021. There will be a second human spaceflight probe before ISRO sends a human with the Gaganyaan, scheduled for July 2021.

“The initial training for Gaganyaan will be done in India and advanced training maybe in Russia. Women astronauts will be there on the team. That’s our aim.” mentioned K Sivan.

The ISRO chief also said that India's moon mission Chandrayaan-2 is planned for mid-April, pushing back the earlier schedule that put the launch sometime before 16 February.

"Regarding Chandrayaan-2’s schedule, right now Chandrayaan is scheduled from March 25 to April end. Most probably, the normal targeted date is April middle," Sivan told reporters.

The mission costing nearly Rs 800 crore, is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission about 10 years ago.  

Among the many announcements, one major declaration was the opening of Human Space Flight Center to train astronauts. He also announced that ISRO will demonstrate a reusable launch vehicle this year. The latest technologies include new category of SSLV vehicles that require only six people to operate and will be the cheapest and lightest launch vehicles in the world.