Bengaluru: In one of the most significant steps towards India’s dream mission of putting a human in space on board a 'desi' module, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Wednesday opened the Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC).
At a low-key event, former ISRO Chairman Dr K Kasturirangan inaugurated the brand-new centre situated closer to Antariksh Bhawan, the ISRO headquarters, here. Current and former ISRO stalwarts were present on the occasion.
HSFC will now be the nerve centre for all activities as the ISRO prepares to form a full-fledged team to undertake the Gaganyaan mission.
The HSFC team will be headed by Dr S Unnikrishnan Nair in the role of a Director, while R Hutton will be the Project Director.
A full scale model of Gaganyaan crew module was also unveiled during the event. The ISRO had first exhibited scale models linked to Gaganyaan mission during the Space Expo held in September last year.
The ISRO says HSFC will 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.
Gaganyaan mission literally caught the imagination of Indians soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced it on Independence Day last year. He had set a deadline of 2022 to execute the mission.
Since then, ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan has been confident and spoke at various forums about his team’s desire to beat this deadline and put Indian(s) in space by December 2021.
The ISRO says HSFC will take support of the existing ISRO centres to implement the first development flight of Gaganyaan.
As reported by Onmanorama earlier, the government has approved last month Rs 10,000 crore for Ganganyaan that will cater to two unmanned and one manned flight.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had recently said that three Indian astronauts will be sent to space for seven days.
The ISRO sources said currently the HSFC team consists of about 25 scientists which will be augmented soon.
An official termed HSFC as the ‘second epoch’ for ISRO, after the formation of the space agency in 1969.
“Most centres grew big after starting as small units, but this is an exciting phase for us. HSFC has been completed in a record 48 days. The work was going on a war-footing,” the official said.