General Studies Paper 3

Context: Indigenously developed parachutes for the safe return of the capsule that will carry astronauts under the proposed Gaganyaan programme are being tested by ISRO.

  • It is developed by The Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE), the Agra-based laboratory under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

What is Gaganyaan Mission?

  • Gaganyaan Mission of ISRO aims to achieve human spaceflight capability by launching a crew of 3 members to Low Earth Orbit of 400 km bringing them back safely to earth, by landing in Indian sea waters.
  • India will be the fourth nation to achieve this feat after Russia, USA and China.

Mission Specifics

  • The uncrewed ‘G1’ mission is targeted to be launched in the last quarter of 2023 followed by the second uncrewed ‘G2’ mission in the second quarter of 2024, before the final human space flight ‘H1’ mission in the fourth quarter of 2024.
  • Various tests to check Technology Preparedness Levels for safety of crew are planned. These demonstrator missions include
    • Integrated Air Drop Test (IADT),
    • Pad Abort Test (PAT) and
    • Test Vehicle (TV) flights
  • LVM3 rocket of ISRO, is identified as the launch vehicle for Gaganyaan mission. Its parts are re-configured to meet human rating requirements and changed into Human Rated LVM3 (HLVM3). LVM3 consists of solid stage, liquid stage and cryogenic stage.
  • HLVM3 consists of Crew Escape System (CES) powered by a set of quick acting, high burn rate solid motors which ensures that Crew Module along with crew is taken to a safe distance in case of any emergency either at launch pad or during ascent phase.
  • Orbital Module (OM) that will be Orbiting Earth comprises Crew Module (CM) and Service Module (SM).
    • CM is the habitable space with Earth like environment in space for the crew. I
    • SM will be used for providing necessary support to CM while in orbit.

Importance of Gaganyaan Mission

  • Progress towards a sustained and affordable exploration of the solar system and beyond.
  • Advanced technology capability for undertaking human space exploration, sample return missions and scientific exploration.
  • Scope for employment generation and human resource development in advanced science and R&D activities.
  • It will strengthen international partnerships and global security through the sharing of challenging and peaceful goals.


  • Hostile space environment with a lack of gravity and atmosphere and danger of radiation.
  • Transition from one gravity field to another affects hand-eye and head-eye coordination leading to orientation-loss, vision, muscle strength, aerobic capacity, etc.
  • There are two choices for an artificial atmosphere, either an Earth-like mixture of oxygen in inert gas or pure oxygen. A pure or concentrated oxygen atmosphere is toxic and has fire risk, especially in ground operations.

Other ISRO Missions

Mission Tentative Target
Aditya L1Mid 2023 (expected)
Chandrayaan 3June 2023
Shukrayaan 12024
Mangalyaan 22024


Way Forward

  • The next step after this mission will focus towards achieving capability for a sustained human presence in space.
  • India could look forward to establishing a Space Station which will be a platform for conducting scientific and industrial research in myriad areas of fundamental, applied and engineering sciences.
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