India will soon launch its first manned space mission, ‘Gaganyaan’, in late 2021. According to reports, space agency ISRO is determined to fly out a woman astronaut among the three astronauts who will be sent to space by 2021, a top space official said.

ISRO chief K Sivan confirmed this at a news conference in Bengaluru. Before the manned mission, ‘Gaganyaan’, which is slated to be flown in December 2021, unmanned missions are scheduled for December next year and July 2021.

“We want women astronauts also to be part of the human spaceflight, which we are aiming to achieve by December 2021,” ISRO chairman K Sivan told reporters

“ISRO is targeting to conduct its first unmanned mission by December 2020 and the second unmanned flight before July 2021. We are aiming to launch the human spaceflight by December 2021, so as to achieve the target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Sivan said.

The astronauts will be chosen by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and trained by the Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Bengaluru. “The training of astronauts will be done largely in India, while the advanced training will be done in collaboration with foreign space agencies,” Sivan said.

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The mission will nearly cost Rs 10,000 crore and will involve taking Indian astronauts to a height of 350-400 km above the Earth and orbiting around the planet for at least a week. Talking about ISRO’s constitution of a ‘Human Spaceflight Centre’ in Bengaluru, Sivan said, “The centre will function under the leadership of S. Unnikrishnan Nair as the Director, while the Gaganyaan project will be headed by R. Hutton, who was the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) project director.”

India is attempting to reach space by 2022. It is after six decades after Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human to take a journey into the outer space and orbiting the earth in 1961.

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