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Gaganyaan Mission: ISRO Announces 4 Astronauts for Indias Space Mission

India’s Gaganyaan mission is a human spaceflight program that aims to launch three astronauts into a 400 km orbit for a three-day mission. The mission is expected to launch between 2024-2025. The mission will use a reconfigured LVM3 rocket, an orbital module, and new technologies. The spacecraft has a launch mass of 8,200 kg, a dry mass of 3,735 kg, and a volume of 8 m.  The four astronauts selected for the mission are:
  • Group Captain Prashanth Nair
  • Group Captain Angad Pratap
  • Group Captain Ajit Krishnan
  • Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla
All four are IAF test pilots from the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment in Bengaluru. The mission was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018 in his Independence Day address to the nation. 

4 Astronauts Selected for ISRO’s Gaganyaan Mission

Four astronauts have been selected by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for the prestigious Gaganyaan mission. Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced them to the world: Group Captain Prashanth Nair, Group Captain Angad Prathap, Group Captain Ajit Krishnan, and Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla. All four are Indian Air Force (IAF) test pilots from the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) in Bengaluru.

Gaganyaan Mission: ISRO Announces 4 Astronauts for Indias Space Mission_4.1

Rigorous Training and Preparation

Selected four years ago, these astronauts have undergone rigorous training for the past four years. They were chosen from a pool of test pilots, with a selection process that included multiple rounds conducted by the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) and ISRO. Initial training took place in Russia, followed by continuous modules and simulations in India. The astronauts have also maintained their fitness through regular flying with the IAF.

ISRO Achieves Human Rating for CE20 Cryogenic Engine

India’s Gaganyaan mission receives a boost as ISRO accomplishes human rating for its CE20 cryogenic engine. Seven ground qualification tests, including 39 hot firing tests, were conducted at ISRO Propulsion Complex, Mahendragiri, exceeding the required 6350 seconds. Tests assessed engine performance under various conditions, ensuring safety for manned missions. The CE20 engine demonstrates reliability, enduring life demonstration, endurance, and performance evaluations. ISRO’s milestone marks progress toward launching humans into space under the Gaganyaan program, showcasing India’s growing capabilities in space exploration.

Mission Gaganyaan TV-D1 Launch Date

The inaugural test flight for the Gaganyaan mission occurred on October 21, 2023, at the Sriharikota spaceport at 10 am in 2nd Attempt. This milestone flight will showcase the capabilities of the crew escape system.

Gaganyaan TV-D1 Mission Definition

Test of the Crew Escape System (CES) at Mach 1.2 using the newly developed Test Vehicle, followed by separation of the Crew Module and its safe recovery.

Gaganyaan TV-D1 Mission Objectives

  • Flight demonstration and evaluation of Test Vehicle sub-systems.
  • Flight demonstration and evaluation of Crew Escape System including various separation systems.
  • Crew Module characteristics & deceleration systems demonstration at higher altitude & its recovery.

 TV-D1 Crew Module (CM)

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Gaganyaan TV-D1 Mission Highlights

Gaganyaan TV-D1 Mission Highlights
TV Mission Pillbox
  • Mach 1.2
  • Altitude 11.7 km
  • Flight path angle 60°
  • Dynamic Pressure 22.6 kPa
CM-CES separation
  • Mach 0.5
  • Altitude 17 km
  • Dynamic pressure 2-3 kPa
Drogue Parachute deployment
  • Altitude 16.7 km
Main Parachute
  • Altitude ‹ 2.5 km

TV-D1 Vehicle

The Test Vehicle is a single-stage liquid-propelled rocket that uses a modified VIKAS engine. The Crew Module (CM) and Crew Escape System (CES) are mounted at its front end.

What is Gaganyaan Mission?

The Gaganyaan project is India’s ambitious quest for human spaceflight. It aims to launch a crew of three members into a 400-kilometre orbit for a three-day mission before safely returning to Earth in the Indian sea waters. This collaborative endeavour combines India’s expertise, industry experience, academic knowledge, and international technology.

Critical components include a human-rated launch vehicle, life support systems, crew emergency escape provisions, and meticulous crew management for training, recovery, and rehabilitation. Preliminary missions, including Integrated Air Drop Tests, Pad Abort Tests, and Test Vehicle flights, ensure technology readiness and system reliability before the actual manned mission. Gaganyaan marks a significant step in India’s space exploration journey.

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Key Components of Gaganyaan Mission

Component/Technology Description
Human-Related Launch Vehicle Essential for launching astronauts into space.
Habitable Orbital Module Includes the Crew Module and Service Module, weighing approximately 8000 kilograms.
Life Support System Ensures astronaut life support during the mission.
Crew Escape System Provides emergency evacuation capability.
Crew Selection and Training Activities related to astronaut selection, training, and mission management.
Unmanned Prototype Missions Prior to the manned mission, two unmanned missions for technology testing and safety verification.
Robot Vyommitra An advanced robot to simulate human space activities and challenges.
Collaborators in Gaganyaan Mission Various Indian agencies, including the Armed Forces, DRDO, maritime agencies, and academic institutions.


Gaganyaan-1 marks the inaugural uncrewed test flight within the Gaganyaan program, scheduled for the first quarter of 2024. This groundbreaking program represents India’s maiden indigenous mission to transport Indian astronauts into space. The primary objective is to construct a human-friendly space capsule designed to accommodate a crew of three individuals, launching them into a 400 km (250 miles) orbit for a three-day mission filled with various scientific experiments.

The mission will culminate with a carefully planned splashdown in the Indian Ocean. The Gaganyaan spacecraft will be positioned in a low earth orbit (LEO) ranging from 300 to 400 kilometres, propelled into space via an LVM 3 rocket, enabling astronauts to reach space in just 16 minutes.

Gaganyaan Test Mission

The Gaganyaan test mission will involve sending the crew module to a height of 17 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. This is a remarkable milestone, as helicopters and conventional flights can only reach altitudes of about 10 kilometers. The single-stage liquid propellant-based rocket will carry an unpressurized version of the crew module, simulating the size and mass of the module intended for Indian astronauts.

Strategic Second Test Vehicle Mission

Following the success of the first test mission, ISRO will consider scheduling a second one. This decision hinges on the data generated and insights gained from the initial test. If everything proceeds as planned, the second mission will be on the horizon. However, in the event of unforeseen challenges, ISRO will address and rectify any issues before embarking on the subsequent phase.

Importance of Gaganyaan Test Mission

The Gaganyaan project is a watershed moment for India’s space exploration endeavours. The altitude of 17 kilometers, which this test will achieve, is a significant milestone. It surpasses the capabilities of helicopters or flights, which can reach a maximum of about 10 kilometers. This demonstrates India’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of space exploration.

The program’s trajectory includes an unmanned flight, where a similar unpressurized crew module will venture into space. This step follows the successful completion of two test missions, ensuring all systems are primed for action. The final manned mission will involve a pressurized crew module to simulate Earth’s atmospheric conditions, emphasizing the utmost concern for astronaut safety. Only after two successful unmanned flights will Indian astronauts embark on their journey under the Gaganyaan mission.

Future of Gaganyaan Mission

With the crew module for the next test mission already in fabrication and testing, the excitement around Gaganyaan continues to grow. This upcoming mission will simulate a scenario in which astronauts must abort while ascending to space at speeds exceeding 1.2 times the speed of sound, further testing the resilience and adaptability of the system.

Latest Space Mission of India

Chandrayaan-3 Mission

Chandrayaan-3, ISRO’s lunar mission, aims to softly land on the moon, explore the lunar surface, collect vital scientific data, and measure the lunar surface’s thermal properties, particularly near the polar region. Launched on July 14, 2023, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, the mission took 40 days to reach the moon. On August 23, the lander, Vikram, and the rover, Pragyan, successfully touched down on the lunar surface. India thus became the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the moon, marking a significant milestone in its space exploration journey, contributing to lunar research and advancing scientific knowledge.

Aditya L1 Mission

Aditya-L1, dedicated to the in-depth solar study, boasts seven indigenous payloads, with five developed by ISRO and two in collaboration with Indian academic institutions. Named after the Sanskrit word for the Sun, “Aditya,” and positioned at Lagrange Point 1 (L1) in the Sun-Earth system, this satellite enjoys gravitational equilibrium between both celestial bodies. Launched on September 2, 2023, it orbits Earth for 16 days, undergoing vital velocity-gaining maneuvers. Transitioning to L1, Aditya-L1 embarks on a 110-day journey, orbiting the stable L1 point, offering an uninterrupted, unobstructed view of the Sun. This strategic location maximizes solar observation while minimizing orbital maintenance needs.

New Mission of ISRO

  • Aditya L1: Launched on September 2, 2023, this is ISRO’s inaugural solar mission, dedicated to comprehensive sun research.
  • Gaganyaan: India’s maiden human spaceflight mission, set for a 2024 launch. ISRO is diligently working on life support systems, emergency protocols, and crew management.
  • RISAT-1A: A radar imaging satellite for Earth observation.
  • NISAR: An advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite, that enhances Earth monitoring capabilities.
  • XPoSAT: An upcoming mission that will contribute to cosmic X-ray studies.
  • SPADEX: Another upcoming ISRO mission with specific research objectives.
  • GSLV INSAT 3DS: A mission using the GSLV launcher to deploy the INSAT-3DS satellite.
  • SSLV-D3: A mission utilizing the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).
  • PSLV: Ongoing missions using the reliable Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.
  • LVM3: A launch vehicle for future endeavours.

ISRO Upcoming Missions

Upcoming ISRO Missions: A Snapshot
Mission Description
Earth Observation Satellites ISRO’s ambitious plan includes launching Earth Observation Satellites EOS-4 and EOS-6 with PSLV, and EOS-2 with SSLV.
Shukrayaan Mission ISRO is planning a mission to Venus, building on the success of the Mars Orbiter Mission.
ISRO’s Space Station India aims to launch its first space station by 2030, joining a select group of nations with a human presence in space.
XpoSat: Cosmic X-Ray Observatory ISRO’s XpoSat is designed to study cosmic X-rays, contributing to our understanding of the universe’s mysteries.

Mission Gaganyaan UPSC

In a historic event, ISRO is preparing for the maiden test vehicle mission of its ambitious Gaganyaan project. This mission, scheduled for October 21, 2023, aims to test the mid-flight crew escape system, a pivotal step towards India’s dream of human spaceflight. Gaganyaan aspires to send a crew of three on a three-day mission into a 400-kilometre orbit before their safe return to the Indian sea waters. The mission involves vital components like a human-rated launch vehicle, life support systems, and crew management. Uncrewed prototype missions precede the manned mission, with a robot named Vyommitra mimicking astronaut activities. This venture marks a significant leap in India’s space exploration journey.

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Mission Gaganyaan FAQs

What is the mission of Gaganyaan?

Gaganyaan's human spaceflight mission will launch a three-member crew into a 400 km orbit, demonstrating India's capability. They will return safely to the Indian Ocean. This endeavor sets the stage for ongoing Indian human space exploration and industrial growth. The first test flight is on October 21.

When was Gaganyaan mission started?

Gaganyaan, announced by PM Modi in 2018, initially planned an uncrewed test in 2023, followed by a second uncrewed test and the first crewed flight in 2024. The first uncrewed experimental flight occurred on December 18, 2014.

What are the three stages of Gaganyaan?

It consists of solid stage, liquid stage and cryogenic stage. All systems in LVM3 launch vehicle are re-configured to meet human rating requirements and christened Human Rated LVM3. HLVM3 will be capable of launching the Orbital Module to an intended Low Earth Orbit of 400 km.

Which rocket will be used for Gaganyaan mission?

The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk.III) will be used to launch the Gaganyaan mission. GSLV Mk.III is a three-stage launch vehicle

When Gaganyaan will be launched?

The Gaganyaan mission is currently scheduled to launch in 2025. However, the launch date may be delayed or advanced depending on the progress of the mission and other factors.

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