PM Names Four Astronauts For Gaganyaan Mission
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PM Names Four Astronauts For Gaganyaan Mission

On Tuesday, PM Narendra Modi recently introduced India’s four astronaut designates, elite fighter pilots from the Indian Air Force, selected for the Gaganyaan mission.

The four astronauts, IAF’s group captain Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair, group captain Ajit Krishnan, group captain Angad Pratap, and wing commander Shubhanshu Shukla, have undergone extensive training for five years in Russian and Indian facilities. During the ceremony at the ISRO Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, they were awarded “Antrisksh Yatri Pank” (astronaut wings) by PM.

He emphasised that astronauts carry the aspirations of 1.4 billion Indians into space, marking a four-decade gap since India last ventured into space. The mission is set for 2025 and will demonstrate its human spaceflight capability by sending a three-person crew into low-Earth orbit for three days.

ISRO’s progress for the Gaganyaan mission includes modifying its Launch Vehicle Mark-3 and extensive testing of systems to ensure astronaut safety. The agency has successfully tested engines and completed milestones like the human rating of the CE20 cryogenic engine. It also inaugurated key space infrastructure projects worth about ₹1,800 crore, enhancing India’s space capabilities.

PM expressed optimism about India’s space economy, projecting a fivefold growth to $44 billion in ten years, and also hinted at future lunar missions aimed at retrieving samples from the Moon.