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Updated February 27th, 2024 at 22:48 IST

Ahead of 4 Gaganyaan Astronauts, ISRO Woman Robot 'Vyommitra' to Fly Solo & Ensure Safety

Named after the Sanskrit words for ‘space’ and ‘friend,’ Vyommitra is designed to simulate human functions in space and interact with life support systems.

Reported by: Digital Desk
ISRO woman robot astronaut named ‘Vyommitra’
ISRO woman robot astronaut named ‘Vyommitra’ | Image:ISRO
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New Delhi: A woman robot astronaut named ‘Vyommitra’ is set to journey into space ahead of India's first manned spaceflight, Gaganyaan. Equipped with claimed advanced capabilities, this robot will undertake an unmanned mission to space later this year, followed by the much-awaited manned Gaganyaan mission, Nation’s maiden human spaceflight.

While reviewing the progress on Gaganyaan on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also inspected the Vyomitra system and was briefed about the robot. Following the review, PM Modi announced the names of four test pilots selected for the Gaganyaan manned mission. 

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Meet India’s to be Vyomanauts 

Among them are Group Captains Prashanth B Nair, Ajit Krishnan, and Angad Pratap, and Wing Commander Subhanshu Shukla. These pilots, all from the Indian Air Force, are currently undergoing training in Bengaluru, with preparations well underway for their historic journey into space. The four astronaut designates had already undergone comprehensive training at Russia's Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, the same place where India’s first man in space, Rakesh Sharma, trained.

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All four, short-listed four years ago, are IAF test pilots from the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) in Bengaluru. Out of the four chosen, only three will be part of the Gaganyaan journey to space, while the fourth will serve as a backup. The mission was announced by PM Modi back in 2018, and since then, there has been suspense regarding the names of the astronauts. Gaganyaan, roughly translates to ‘celestial vehicle,’ will carry Indian Astronauts to an orbit of 400 km on a 3-day mission and the crew module will also bring them back to Earth, landing in Indian waters.

Vyommitra to Lead Space Mission Ahead of Manned Flight

Now, back to Vyommitra, although known for a while, received an official announcement from Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for Science & Technology and Space, earlier this month during a media interaction in New Delhi. He revealed that while the uncrewed robot flight "Vyommitra" is scheduled for the third quarter of this year, the manned mission "Gaganyaan" is planned for launch next year, in 2025. PM Modi will be reviewing the Gaganyaan mission.

Named after the Sanskrit words for ‘space’ and ‘friend,’ Vyommitra is designed to simulate human functions in space and interact with life support systems. It possesses the ability to monitor module parameters, issue alerts, and carry out essential life support operations, including operating panels and responding to queries.

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Preparations for India's first manned spaceflight have been ongoing, with the successful completion of the Test Vehicle Flight TV D1 last year to qualify the crew escape and parachute systems. The human rating of the launch vehicle and qualification of all propulsion stages have been completed, setting the stage for the upcoming missions.

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Published February 27th, 2024 at 22:48 IST

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