India's first indigenous manned space mission Gaganyaan has been the talk of the town ever since it was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August 2018. Since then, quite a few developments have taken place. On January 1, ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan had, during a press conference, said that the space research organization has made "good progress" in Gaganyaan. Four astronauts, all pilots of the Indian Air Force, have been selected to be sent to space and they will now undergo an 11-month training in Russia, he had added.
However, now, it is likely that only one astronaut may get the chance to be a part of the first manned space mission. And regardless of the number, the manned mission would most definitely be carried out by men.
According to a report in the Hindustan Times, Sivan said that all the four astronauts are men. Sivan added that while they are preparing the mission to send three people to space for a duration of seven days, the final intricate details of the mission would be finalized once they send two unmanned test flights, the report stated.
Citing the examples of other countries, Sivan said that the first flights are crucial and the US, China and Russia also sent only one person to space. He also said that the duration of these countries' manned space missions was also very brief, lasting for one day or one orbit, or even a part of the orbit like the US did.
He was also quoted as saying that the design of the crew and service module, together forming the spacecraft, is ready and now, the realisation of the design has to be commenced. When the organisation gets the first model of the Gaganyaan, it would go for qualification. After that, the flight model is likely to be ready by December.
He also said that a committee consisting of experts has been set up to review all the systems. Usually, the review is done by the scientists of ISRO, however, due to the involvement of humans, the expert committee will overlook the mission.
In the two test flights, a humanoid robot will be sent to measure parameters like blood pressure, heart rate, etc, and based on that data, corrections would be made to ensure the suitability of the mission for astronauts.
As per the ISRO schedule, the mission is scheduled to be executed in December 2021.