Thiruvananthapuram: ISRO chief S Somanath on Sunday (October 22) said that the space agency prefers woman fight test pilots or female scientists for its much-awaited human space flight programme Gaganyaan mission and it is possible to send them in the future.
Somanath said that ISRO would send a female humanoid – a robot that resembles a human – in its unmanned Gaganyaan spacecraft in 2024.
The missions aims to send humans into space on a Low Earth Orbit of 400 km for three days and bring them back to Earth safely.
“No doubt about it…but we have to find out such possible (women) candidates in the future,” Somanath said in response to a query.
His remarks came a day after the ISRO launched its TV-D1 test vehicle on Saturday successfully.
ISRO’s manned mission
He said that the manned mission is expected to be launched by 2025 which will be a short duration mission.
“Right now, the initial candidates are to be from Air Force fighter test pilots…they are a bit different category. Right now, we are not having women fighter test pilots. So, once they come, that is one route,” Somanath said.
“The second option was when there would be more scientific activity. Then, scientists will come as astronauts. So, at that time, I believe that more possibilities for women are there. Currently, possibilities are lesser because there are no women fighter test pilots,” Somanath added.
In response to a question, he said that ISRO is targeting to put a fully operational space station by 2035.
Test vehicle launch
The ISRO on Saturday launched the test vehicle which carried payloads related to India’s ambitious human space flight mission Gaganyaan which successfully splashed into the sea later as planned.
The launch was initially ihalted due to bad weather and then due to the failure of the engine of TV-D1 to ignite. The ISRO scientists put the mission on course 75 minutes later when the rocket lifted off and achieved the goal of Crew Module and Crew Escape separation.
TV D1 Mission was fully achieved, ISRO announced. The payloads splashed into the sea later which went as planned.
(With PTI inputs)