India’s first unmanned mission slated this year as part of its ambitious human space flight venture “Gaganyaan” may face some delay with preparations adversely impacted due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown, according to Indian Space Research Organisation officials.
Bengaluru-headquartered ISRO had earlier said it has planned two trial flights without crew ahead of Gaganyaan — the first one around December 2020 and the second around July 2021.
“There are some disturbances because of COVID, but still nothing is confirmed (about delay). We need to see, still we have got some six months time. We are trying to see if we can reach there,” said a senior ISRO official.
He added: “There may be slight up and down (in the schedule), but that will be known only when we do the complete evaluation… it is premature to say anything, because the team that is working (on the project) has not indicated (about delay).”
ISRO plans to carry humanoid “Vyommitra” in the first test flight.
The space agency is expected to launch the Rs 10,000-crore “Gaganyaan” in 2022, the year of the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence.
Four Indian Air Force fighter pilots — potential candidates for the Gaganyaan project — are currently under training in Moscow.