Chennai: ISRO has said the launch of the first uncrewed mission planned in December, as part of the human spaceflight programme ‘Gaganyaan’, will be delayed due to the Covid-19-induced disruption in delivery of hardware elements for the ambitious venture.
“Definitely it will not be possible in December. It’s delayed,” Chairman of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), K Sivan said.
He added: “It (uncrewed mission) will shift to next year.” Meanwhile, the ISRO, whose initial plan was to launch two uncrewed missions before the human spaceflight carries astronauts to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) as part of the Gaganyaan programme, may carry out more uncrewed launches.
The national-level Gaganyaan Advisory Council (GAC) will take a final call on how many uncrewed missions ISRO may need to carry out after it evaluates data from the first two missions.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic impacting the pace of the mission, the Defence Research and Development (DRDO) organisation and ISRO are now conducting impact studies on the crew module.
Being developed by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the Gaganyaan crew module will be the first indigenous spacecraft to take Indian astronauts into space and return them safely to Earth.
The Rs 10,000-crore mission aims to send a three-member Indian crew to space for a period of five to seven days and safely return them to Earth.