ISRO's Gaganyaan Mission Favors Women Fighter Test Pilots, Here's Why
ISRO's Gaganyaan Mission Favors Women Fighter Test Pilots, Here's Why

SRIHARIKOTA: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is committed to promoting gender diversity in its ambitious Gaganyaan program, which seeks to propel humans into space. S. Somanath, the chief of the space agency, revealed on Sunday that ISRO is actively considering the inclusion of women in this groundbreaking mission. He expressed optimism about sending women fighter test pilots or female scientists on space expeditions in the future.

In a significant development, Somanath also disclosed ISRO's plan to deploy a female humanoid—a robot designed to resemble a human—in an unmanned Gaganyaan spacecraft scheduled for launch next year. The Gaganyaan mission is a monumental endeavor aimed at sending astronauts into space, specifically into Low Earth Orbit at an altitude of 400 kilometers for a duration of three days before safely returning them to Earth.

Somanath emphasized the agency's strong commitment to gender inclusivity. When asked about the participation of women in this endeavor, he stated unequivocally, "No doubt about it...but we have to find out such possible (women) candidates in the future." This statement came on the heels of ISRO's successful launch of the TV-D1 test vehicle, a crucial step in preparing for the human space flight mission Gaganyaan.

The anticipated human space flight mission is slated for 2025 and will be of relatively short duration. Somanath explained the initial candidate pool for astronauts, noting, "Right now, the initial candidates are to be from Air Force fighter test pilots...they are a bit different category. Right now, we are not having women fighter test pilots. So, once they come, that is one route." The second option, he mentioned, pertains to scientists, who could also be chosen as astronauts. He added, "Then, scientists will come as astronauts. So, at that time, I believe that more possibilities for women are there. Currently, possibilities are lesser because there are no women fighter test pilots."

Responding to a question about ISRO's long-term vision, Somanath shared that the organization's target is to establish a fully operational space station by the year 2035.

In a noteworthy achievement, ISRO successfully launched the TV-D1 test vehicle in preparation for the Gaganyaan mission. Overcoming initial challenges and delays, the space agency executed the test vehicle's launch, carrying essential payloads related to the ambitious Gaganyaan program. As part of the test, scientists simulated an abort scenario for the Crew Escape System, safely splashing down the Crew Module into the Bay of Bengal with precision, marking a significant milestone in India's space exploration journey.

Read More:

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ISRO's Gaganyaan Mission: A Giant Leap for India

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