ISRO to place half humanoid ‘Vyommitra’ in Gaganyaan


With the first unmanned flight as part of the first human spaceflight program (Gaganyaan) scheduled for later this year, here’s the first glimpse of the humanoid that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) hopes to send before finally sending humans in 2022. And, while India is not sending women as part of Gaganyaan, the humanoid a robot will be a “woman”.

Named ‘Vyommitra’, the “half-humanoid is capable of doing multiple tasks, including speak two languages. The humanoid is almost ready, we want to make sure that this mission serves a purpose beyond displaying our ability to send humans and bring them back safely”, ISRO chairman K Sivan told.

He said that ISRO will fly the humanoid in both the unmanned flights planned before the actual human spaceflight mission. “Our robot will be like a human, and be able to do whatever a man can do, although not as extensively as humans. We want to show that even the first flight will not go empty and also ensure that we utilize the opportunity in a maximum way. We have our own humanoid model that will be used” Sivan had added.

As we speak, the final four astronaut-elects for India’s first human spaceflight program (Gaganyaan) will begin training in Russia. While a lot of design work has been completed for Gaganyaan already, there will be several tests that will be done this year.

ISRO has made progress with the human rating of its systems, including propulsion systems and the crew escape module, among other things. “Many systems will need to be tested before the unmanned flight planned for this year, which we are planning for this year and among them will be the air-drop tests on crew escape module and we will also begin the crew training,” Sivan had said on January 1, 2020.

Now, of these, Sivan said, the final four have been picked. In September the first week, India picked 12 IAF test pilots who cleared the level-1 screening for the Gaganyaan program which envisages sending Indian astronauts to space by 2022.

The Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) under IAF, which selected the 12 astronauts from 60 applicants, had completed one round of screening, and Glavkosmos a subsidiary of Roscosmos State Corporation (Russia’s space agency) which will train them, has completed its screening enabling selection of the final four.

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