In a landmark development for India’s space exploration ambitions, an Indian astronaut is set to embark on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS) next year. This exciting opportunity comes as a result of the agreement between US President Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, signifying a major milestone in India’s space journey.
The chosen astronaut is likely to be one of the passengers involved in India’s prestigious Gaganyaan project, a mission aimed at sending humans into space using indigenous technology. While the selection for the upcoming ISS journey is a significant achievement, it does not diminish the importance of the Gaganyaan project, which remains a crucial stepping stone towards India’s goal of establishing its own space station.
Currently, four passengers have undergone rigorous training in Russia, and they will now undergo an additional six months of training at the renowned Johnson Space Center in the United States. Notably, this upcoming mission will also include a female astronaut, highlighting India’s commitment to gender inclusivity in the field of space exploration.
To further enhance practical knowledge, it has been agreed to send one or two Gaganyaan passengers aboard SpaceX or Boeing Starliner, providing them with valuable hands-on experience. India has allocated a budget of 200 crores for this purpose, demonstrating its dedication to fostering international collaborations and knowledge exchange.
Moreover, India’s participation in the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar Satellite (NISAR) project marks another significant achievement resulting from Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit to the United States. With a budget of 1.2 billion dollars, the NISAR satellite, scheduled for launch from Sriharikota in 2024, will revolutionize Earth observation by continuously monitoring even the slightest changes on our planet, including weather patterns.
India’s inclusion in the Artemis program, which aims to establish human colonization on the Moon, Mercury, and Mars, is yet another testament to its growing prominence in the global space arena. Notably, India signed the Artemis agreement without any binding conditions or financial obligations, underscoring its commitment to international cooperation in advancing space exploration.
Furthermore, the participation of private entrepreneurs from India in space interoperable technology within the Artemis program is expected to elevate India’s standards in the space sector and foster technological advancements.