Human Spaceflight Centre Current Affairs - 2020

ISRO launches Massive Human Space Flight Centre in Challakere, Karnataka

On January 6, 2020, the ISRO proposed 2,700 crores of infrastructure plan to construct Human Space Flight Infrastructure Centre. The facility is to be set up at Challakere, Chitradurga district of Karnataka and is expected to become operational in three years.

Highlights

The Centre is to be located in the NH-4 Bengaluru-Pune Highway. ISRO aims to establish a self-contained training facility here. At present, astronauts part of Gaganyaan Mission, the Human Spaceflight Programme of ISRO are trained in Russia. The centre aims at bringing in all the features that are provided by Russia and begin training astronauts within the country.

Also, the centre aims to integrate the works of Human Spaceflight Programme that are currently spread across various centres such as UR Rao Satellite Centre, Bengaluru, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram and Institute of Aerospace Medicine of Air Force.

If successful in the Gaganyaan mission, India will become the fourth country after US, Russia and China to send humans to space. In order to achieve this, India is also working on preparing ready to eat foods at DFRL (Defence Food Research Laboratory).

Challakere-The Science City

The city is located at 400 km from Bengaluru. It is called the science city as it accommodated facilities of ISRO. Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, DRDO’s Advanced Aeronautical Test Range and Indian institute of Science.

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MoU: signed between IAF and ISRO

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for astronaut selection and training for ambitious Gaganyaan Programme, scheduled for 2022.

Key Highlight

  • IAF has signed MoU with ISRO for crew selection and training for prestigious Gaganyaan Programme. The MoU was handed over by R G K Kapoor, Air Vice Marshal to the Project Director of Gaganyaan Programme, R Hutton.
  • The signing of MoU was an official formality that will now kick-start the selection process which would take 12-14 months following which training will begin.
  • Training: Most of the basic training will happen in India but ISRO is also looking for foreign help for advanced training. From IAF’s side, the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) will undertake and lead the selection and training of astronauts.

Procedure Undertaken:

  • The IAM will first start with a pool of 30 aspirants, of whom, only 15 will be picked and given basic training.
  • As the plan is to send three member crew so IAM will shortlist three sets of three (i.e. nine) and will let one set go about three months before scheduled launch with others remaining in programme till the launch date.
  • The first set of evaluations will take around three months as IAM will have to ensure that it picks best crew whose physical condition is among best in India and they also have right mental make up.

About Gaganyaan Mission

  • Background: The launch of Gaganyaan programme was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day address in 2018.
  • Gaganyaan Mission is India’s maiden human spaceflight programme, scheduled for 2022.
  • Updates: The Centre has officially sanctioned Rs.10,000 crore in December 2018. On 30 January 2019, ISRO has set up Human Spaceflight Centre at its headquarters in Bengaluru. Before sending humans to space ISRO plans to send humanoids so that it able to see a host of developments relating to project.
  • Significance: This mission will provide a unique micro-gravity platform in space to India for conducting experiments and test for future technologies.

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