The success of Gaganyaan will register India’s name as the fourth nation (after the US, Russia, and China) with independent human spaceflight capability.

For decades, India has established itself as a leading force in space exploration, with successful launches of satellites, lunar missions, and interplanetary probes. The Gaganyaan mission represents the culmination of these efforts.

The Gaganyaan mission, spearheaded by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is nation's first attempt at sending astronauts into space. 

The Ambitious goal is to send a 3-member astronaut crew to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for 5-7 days. The spacecraft, which is aiming for liftoff in late 2024, signifies a pivotal moment in India's spacefaring journey. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the four Indian Air Force pilots chosen as the first astronaut-designates for the mission. 

This achievement would place India among the elite few countries with this capability – the US, Russia, and China.

The Spacecraft Design:

The Gaganyaan spacecraft is designed to carry a three-person crew. It is roughly 3.5 meters in diameter, 3.58 meters tall and weighs approximately 8.2 tonnes. The spacecraft uses a geosynchronous launch vehicle (GSLV Mk III) for launch. The spacecraft is built for a splashdown landing in the Bay of Bengal and the spacecraft is hence designed to withstand the harsh conditions of launch and re-entry. The module is equipped with heat shield for re-entry and parachutes for landing.

  • It consists of two modules:
    • Crew Module: This pressurized module provides a habitable environment for the astronauts. It is crafted out of aluminium alloy and provides air, water, and waste management support for the astronauts. It is also responsible for regulating temperature, humidity, pressure, and heat inside the spacecraft.
    • Service Module: This module houses propulsion system, reaction control system, thermal control system, life support system, and power generation system, which are essential for spacecraft’s operation.


Key Objectives of Gaganyaan:

          Demonstrate Independent Human Spaceflight Capability:

The primary objective of the Gaganyaan mission is to demonstrate India's self-reliance in human spaceflight. The successful flight will showcase India's ability to independently launch humans into space and safely return them. 

This will be achieved by:

  • Launching a crew of three astronauts into a low Earth orbit (LEO) at an altitude of around 400 km.
  • Sustaining the crew for a period of 3-7 days in a microgravity environment.
  • Safe re-entry and recovery of the crew and spacecraft in the Bay of Bengal.

    Conduct Scientific Experiments in Microgravity:

Microgravity, also referred to as near-weightlessness or low gravity, describes the state where gravity's influence is significantly reduced. While objects in space are still technically affected by Earth's gravity, their acceleration due to gravity (often denoted by "g") becomes very small, which poses a significant opportunity for scientists to study material behaviour without the impact of gravity in space, which is nearly impossible on Earth. 

In space, within the Gaganyaan spacecraft, the effects of gravity will be dramatically reduced and will create a microgravity environment. 

Under this, scientists aim to study three different areas- fluid dynamics, material science, and life science. 

  • Fluid Dynamics: In microgravity, liquids behave differently. Scientists will study the behavior of liquids while mixing, forming bubbles, pouring, and even moving, without the influence of gravity. This research will improve industrial processes on Earth.
  • Materials Science: Microgravity allows scientists to grow nearly perfect crystals of proteins and other materials. Studying these crystals can help them unlock the secrets of diseases, develop new drugs, and design stronger, more efficient materials for use in spacecraft and other applications.
  • Life Sciences: Understanding how the human body adapts to spaceflight is vital for future long-duration missions. The Gaganyaan mission will study the effects of microgravity on the human body, which will help us to design ways to keep astronauts healthy during extended space travel.

Gaganyaan’s Brave Quartet:


The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has officially chosen the four bold individuals who will spearhead the nation's maiden human spaceflight mission, Gaganyaan. (refer image)

1. Group Captain Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair: A seasoned pilot with over 2,000 flying hours, Group Captain Nair possesses extensive experience in fighter jets and flying training.

2. Group Captain Ajit Krishnan: A recipient of the President's Gold Medal and Sword of Honour, Group Captain Krishnan boasts exceptional flying skills with nearly 2,900 hours under his belt. 

3. Group Captain Angad Pratap: An accomplished fighter pilot with over 2,000 flying hours, Group Captain Pratap brings a wealth of experience in various aircraft types, including MiG-21 and Su-30 MKI. 

4. Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla: A highly decorated fighter combat leader and test pilot with over 1,200 flying hours, Wing Commander Shukla is well-versed in handling high-performance aircraft.

Although only three of these astronauts will be sent-off in Gaganyaan, four IAF officers are chosen for backup and rotation. All the four crew members have been training for more than five years under Indian and Russian facilities for the Gaganyaan Mission. 


Gaganyaan will demonstrate India's impressive human spaceflight capabilities to the world.  Far more importantly, it aims to ignite a passion for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in future generations. The scientific exploration conducted during the space mission will position India as a leading force in space exploration. 

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