Gearing up for its maiden manned space mission ”Gaganyaan”, ISRO unveiled its Human Space Flight Centre in Bengaluru. The space agency is gearing up for the human spaceflight programme by 2021-end that is likely to include a woman astronaut. Gaganyaan is the “highest priority” for ISRO in 2019, according to the space agency, and the plan is to have the first unmanned mission in December 2020 and second for July 2021. Once this is completed, the manned mission will happen in December 2021. Dr K Kasturirangan, former ISRO Chairman, in the presence of dr K Sivan, ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space, inaugurated the Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) at ISRO Headquarter campus in Bengaluru, the space agency said on its website. Directors of other ISRO Centres, former Chairman and other dignitaries were also present, it said, adding that a full scale model of Gaganyaans crew module was also unveiled during the event. HSFC shall be responsible for implementation of Gaganyaan project which involves end-to-end mission planning, development of engineering systems for crew survival in space, crew selection and training and also pursue activities for sustained human space flight missions, ISRO said. It will take the support of existing ISRO centres to implement the first development flight of Gaganyaan under the human spaceflight proogramme. Mr S Unnikrishnan Nair is the founder director of HSFC, while Mr R Hutton is the project director of Gaganyaan. The Union Cabinet gave its nod for the Rs. 9,023 crore programme recently.
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