India, France ink agreement to collaborate for Gaganyaan mission
India and France have signed agreement to collaborate for ISRO’s first human space mission Gaganyaan to be launched in 2022. Both countries have also announced working group for Gaganyaan. The announcement was made at sixth edition of Bengaluru Space Expo (touted to be largest space conference in Asia and held in Bengaluru). So far, French-Indian space cooperation was in the domain of climate monitoring, with fleet of joint satellites devoted to research and operational applications.
Under this agreement, ISRO and French space agency CNES will form working group to exchange expertise in fields of astronaut life support, radiation protection, space debris protection and personal hygiene systems among others. CNES will be sharing its expertise acquired from France first human spaceflights of Thomas Pesquet’s Proxima mission in November 2016, when European Space Agency’s (ESA) astronaut Pesquet was on six-month mission at International Space Station (ISS). Pesquet had conducted 50 scientific experiments for CNES and ESA.
It is also envisioned that French space training infrastructure such as CADMOS centre for development of microgravity applications and space operations or MEDES space clinic will be used for training of future Indian astronauts, as well as exchange of specialist personnel. The partnership between CNES and ISRO will also allow French space agency to learn from India’s developments in the field of crew transport.
It will be India’s first manned space mission. Under it, India is planning to send three humans (Gaganyatris) into space by 2022 for period of five to seven days. The mission was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 72nd Independence Day speech. It will make India fourth nation in the world after USA, Russia and China to launch a human spaceflight mission. The crew of three astronauts will conduct experiments on microgravity in space. They will be selected jointly by Indian Air Force (IAF) and ISRO after which they will undergo training for two-three years. GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle, having necessary payload capability will be used to launch Gaganyaan.