ISRO chief announces key Gaganyaan tests

Bengaluru, July 3 (UNI) Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman S Somanath announced on Wednesday that three crucial tests for the Gaganyaan mission will be conducted this year. These tests are crucial for India’s ambitious human spaceflight programme.

At a workshop on planetary defence commemorating International Asteroid Day, Somanath provided details on the upcoming experiments. “This year, we have three critical tests lined up. These are the first unmanned Gaganyaan (G1) mission scheduled for December, the Test Vehicle (TV) T-2 mission, which will demonstrate an abort scenario, and a pad abort test to simulate an emergency abort right at the launch pad,” he explained.

Highlighting the importance of global collaboration in planetary defence, Somanath emphasised ISRO’s willingness to contribute to international missions, such as the 2029 Apophis mission.

He mentioned that India could offer instruments or other support to joint missions led by agencies such as NASA, ESA, and JAXA, emphasizing that no single country can develop a comprehensive planetary protection system against asteroids and that international cooperation is essential.

Somanath emphasised the need for unity among space-faring nations, noting that ISRO has initiated focused activities towards planetary defence. He asserted that all space-faring nations should collaborate and work together, highlighting ISRO’s commitment to contributing to global planetary defence efforts.

The workshop, organised by ISRO, featured participation from students, ISRO delegates, and academic institutions. Experts from JAXA and ESA delivered technical talks on the Hayabusa-2 asteroid mission and ongoing planetary defence and asteroid monitoring activities. They also discussed the roles of the International Asteroid Warning Network and the Space Mission Planning Advisory Group in mitigating asteroid impact threats.

International Asteroid Day, established by a UN resolution in 2016, commemorates the Tunguska event of June 30, 1908, when a massive asteroid explosion flattened about 2,200 square kilometers of forest in Siberia, Russia. The day aims to raise public awareness about asteroid impact hazards.

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