India’s Chandrayaan-3 Launch Boosts Human Spaceflight Program for Ambitious Gaganyaan Mission

Bengaluru-headquartered Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) achieved a significant milestone with the successful launch of Chandrayaan-3, India’s third Moon mission. The launch, conducted on July 14, marked a major advancement for India’s human spaceflight program and set the stage for the ambitious Gaganyaan mission. ISRO plans to utilize the same launch vehicle, the LVM3-M4 rocket, which possesses “human rated” capability, for the upcoming Gaganyaan mission.

The Gaganyaan mission, ISRO’s flagship project, aims to demonstrate India’s capacity for human spaceflight by sending a crew of three members into an orbit of 400 kilometers for a duration of three days before safely returning them to Earth, with a landing in sea waters. Scientists at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre confirmed that the 44.3-meter tall LVM3 rocket used for the Chandrayaan-3 launch would be the designated launch vehicle with “human rated” capability.

The LVM3 rocket, a heavy lift launcher comprising three stages (solid stage, liquid stage, and cryogenic stage), has been reconfigured and officially named “Human Rated LVM3” to fulfill the necessary requirements for the Gaganyaan mission. This modified version will have the capability to launch the Orbital Module to a Low Earth Orbit of 400 kilometers.

Officials reported that the recent launch of the LVM3-rocket carrying the Chandrayaan spacecraft proceeded flawlessly, affirming the reliability of the launch vehicle. The LVM3 rocket is a crucial component of ISRO’s strategy to achieve a spacecraft launching capacity of 4,000 kilograms to the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.

ISRO Chairman S Somanath announced that the first abort mission for the Gaganyaan program is scheduled for the end of August, indicating the program’s progress and commitment to ensuring crew safety. Additionally, ISRO has planned an unmanned mission to orbit by the end of the following year. Currently, scientists are diligently working on assembling the crew module and crew escape system, with a test vehicle already prepared for evaluation.

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