The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K Sivan said that the preparations for the Gaganyaan Mission are underway and the organisation is targeting for two unmanned missions to space in December 2020 and 2021.
"The initial training for Gaganyaan will be done in India and advanced training may be in Russia. Women astronauts will be there on the team. That's our aim," Sivan said.
While addressing the media at Antariksh Bhavan, Shivan said the organisation will set up six incubation and research centres across the country and will bring Indian students to ISRO. “Why do the Indian students need to go to NASA, ” he asked.
ISRO had earlier said Chandrayaan-2 will be launched in a window between January-February 16 this year. The mission, costing nearly Rs 800 crore, is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission about 10 years ago.
"Regarding Chandrayaan-2 schedule, right now Chandrayaan is scheduled from March 25 to April end. Most probably, the normal targeted date is April middle," Sivan told reporters here. He said the space agency had earlier planned to launch the spacecraft sometime between January and February but it could not materialise because certain tests could not be conducted.
"Once we missed the February target, next available target is April. Right now it is planned for April," the ISRO chief added.
In 2019 alone, ISRO has 32 missions on the cards, including a test demonstration of a whole new breed of ISRO rocket – the SSLV, or the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle. Once complete and tested, this will be the world's cheapest and lightest launch rocket for small satellites.
According to the sources, the agency is also planning to invest Rs 9,000-crore budget and its time towards the Gaganyaan mission this year putting together rockets and life support systems in preparation for two test flights in 2020.
(With agency inputs)