India Announces Gaganyaan Astronauts

Estimated read time 5 min read

India’s space program took a giant leap forward this week with the announcement of four astronauts chosen for the historic Gaganyaan mission, the country’s first human spaceflight endeavor.

Fan made poster of Vyomonauts in space.

Meet the Gaganyaan Crew:

  • Group Captain Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair
  • Group Captain Ajit Krishnan
  • Group Captain Angad Pratap
  • Wing Commander Subhanshu Shukla

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who revealed their names during a visit to the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), congratulated the astronauts and hailed them as the “pride of India” and the embodiment of the nation’s aspirations.

Ambitious Goals:

Photo Credit youtube

With a targeted launch window between 2024 and 2025, the Gaganyaan mission aims to send a three-member crew on a three-day orbital mission, marking a significant milestone in India’s space journey.

Looking Ahead:

But the Gaganyaan mission is just the beginning. Prime Minister Modi outlined even more ambitious goals for the future, including:

  • An Indian space station by 2035: This would represent a major step towards sustained human presence in space.
  • An Indian astronaut landing on the Moon: This ambitious project would solidify India’s position as a major spacefaring nation.

Concept Photos of An Indian space station by 2035

Infrastructure Boost:

To support these ambitious goals, the Prime Minister also inaugurated three critical space infrastructure projects worth ₹1,800 crore:

  • PSLV integration facility: This facility aims to increase the launch frequency of the PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) from six to fifteen launches per year.
  • Semi-cryogenics integrated engine and stage test facility: This facility will support the development and testing of advanced rocket engines.
  • Trisonic wind tunnel: This facility will enable testing of aerospace vehicles at speeds exceeding the speed of sound.

India is gearing up for its historic Gaganyaan mission, the nation’s first human spaceflight program named after the Sanskrit word for “sky vehicle.” With extensive preparations underway, the project aims to launch a three-member crew into low Earth orbit.

However, it’s important to acknowledge that while this mission marks a significant milestone for India, it comes decades after the initial endeavors of other nations. The Soviet Union and the United States have maintained a presence in space since 1961, while China achieved human spaceflight in 2003 and currently operates a space station.

While not the first Indian in space, Rakesh Sharma’s journey aboard a Soviet spacecraft in 1984 adds a historical chapter to the nation’s spacefaring aspirations. Despite its later entry, the Gaganyaan mission holds immense potential for India’s future space exploration endeavors.

How many Indian astronauts have been to space since then?

Since Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma’s historic journey in 1984, several astronauts of Indian origin have made their mark in space exploration. Let’s explore some of them:

  1. Rakesh Sharma: The first Indian to travel to space, he spent nearly 8 days aboard the Soyuz 7 orbital station as part of a Soviet-Indian flight mission. His famous response when asked about how India looked from outer space was, “better than the world.
  1. Kalpana Chawla: Born in Karnal, India, she became the first Indian-born woman to fly to space. She served as a mission specialist and robot arm operator on the Space Shuttle Columbia. Tragically, she lost her life during the shuttle’s re-entry in 2003 .
Sunita Williams
  1. Sunita Williams: Although born in the US, Sunita’s father was of Indian origin. She holds the record for the most spacewalks by a woman with Indian origins, having completed 7 spacewalks. Her achievements are remarkable .
  1. Sirisha Bandla: Adding to the list, Sirisha is the fourth Indian-origin person to fly into space. Before her, Raja Chari, a NASA astronaut, was set to claim this honor with the launch of the NASA SpaceX Crew-3 Mission
  1. Prashanth Nair, Angad Prathap, Ajit Krishnan, and Shubhanshu Shukla are the astronauts selected for India’s first manned space mission, Gaganyaan .

These remarkable individuals have contributed significantly to space exploration, representing India’s spirit of curiosity and scientific achievement. 🚀🌟


Who is the first Indian astronaut to travel in the space?

The first Indian astronaut to venture into space was Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma. He achieved this remarkable feat on April 3, 1984, when he flew aboard the Soviet rocket Soyuz T-11 as part of the Soviet Interkosmos program. During his space mission, Sharma spent 7 days, 21 hours, and 40 minutes aboard the Salyut 7 Orbital Station. His scientific and technical studies covered fields such as bio-medicine and remote sensingWhen asked how India looked from outer space, he famously replied, “Sare Jahan Se Accha” (the best in the world)

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Hi, I'm AAG! 5+ years living on the web's cutting edge, bringing you the most interesting news in tech, business, and beyond. Let's explore the future, together! Find me on our social media handle(s).

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