India plans to have sustained human presence in space
(Sourced from PTI)
India plans to have a sustained human presence in space and is coming out with a policy framework and a long-term roadmap. The Department of Space (DoS) has envisaged a national effort to meet the goal of successful demonstration of human spaceflight capability and to achieve the vision of sustained human presence in space.
"India's maiden human spaceflight module Gaganyaan will be launched after the second unmanned mission planned in 2022-23," Union Minister Jitendra Singh had said last week. In her Budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said the first unmanned launch is slated for December this year.
The DoS has now put up the draft "Humans in Space Policy for India - 2021" and guidelines and procedures for its implementation on the website of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for public consultation. "Human-spaceflight program needs to be sustained over longer periods to deliver tangible benefits," according to the draft.
DoS believes that given the collaborative nature of human spaceflight due to its multi-disciplinary nature, it is essential to have a policy framework, which not only fosters partnerships but also addresses proliferation concerns and compliance to existing policies, laws, and treaties.
Hence, it is essential that the policy enables sustained presence in low earth orbit and beyond through reliable, robust, safe, and affordable means by undertaking appropriate capacity-building measures like collaborations, infrastructure development, facilities modernization, technology development, and human resource development. This would encourage new industries, create high technology jobs, enable socio-economic growth and further enhance India's stature and role in space, it was noted.
Technological elements like development of human-rated launch vehicle, environmental control and life support system, crew escape system, deceleration system, crew selection and training and development of human-centric products shall be undertaken by the DoS, utilizing expertise of ISRO, national research institutions, academia, industry, and others.
A long-term road map for sustained human presence in low earth orbit (LEO) and undertaking exploration missions beyond it would be defined. "DoS/ISRO shall encourage start-ups and industries through the suitable mechanism," the draft said. "The mechanism shall be established to explore spin-off opportunities and their development for societal benefits," according to the draft.
"DoS/ISRO shall establish a comprehensive criterion for the screening and selection of crew members. For initial missions, pilots from the Indian Armed forces will be inducted as crew members," the draft stated.