Bengaluru: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up to send its woman robot astronaut, known as “Vyommitra,” into space as a precursor to the ambitious Gaganyaan manned mission.
Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh announced that the “Vyommitra” mission will precede ISRO’s “Gaganyaan,” India’s inaugural human-manned spaceflight. Speaking to the press in New Delhi, he disclosed that the uncrewed “Vyommitra” mission is slated for the third quarter of this year, while “Gaganyaan” is scheduled for launch in 2025.
Minister detailed Vyommitra’s capabilities, explaining that the robot astronaut can monitor module parameters, issue alerts, and perform life support operations. Vyommitra is designed to simulate human functions in the space environment and interact with the life support system.
The Gaganyaan project aims to demonstrate India’s human space capabilities by launching a crew of astronauts into a 400-kilometer orbit and safely returning them to Earth.
Vyommitra, a half-humanoid robot with a female astronaut’s appearance, was unveiled by ISRO recently. It will be sent into low Earth orbit later this year on the first test flight of the Gaganyaan mission to evaluate the technologies and protocols developed for the program.
Standing at 1.57 meters tall and weighing 55 kilograms, Vyommitra features specially designed sensors and systems to sense, respond, and execute life support functions in the spacecraft. It can operate switch panels, monitor oxygen levels, demonstrate breathing, and communicate with astronauts, recognizing and responding to their queries.
ISRO Chairman Dr. K Sivan described Vyommitra as the first prototype of a half-humanoid created for the unmanned Gaganyaan test mission. He highlighted that Vyommitra will faithfully simulate human functions in space.
The Gaganyaan program aims to send Indian astronauts into low Earth orbit for three to seven days by 2022, coinciding with India’s 75th year of independence. This endeavor would make India the fourth nation globally to conduct a human spaceflight mission, following the USA, Russia, and China. Two unmanned test flights are planned before the manned mission.
Vyommitra’s journey into space will occur during the first unmanned test launch, followed by another unmanned mission to thoroughly evaluate the reliability and safety of the crew escape system before Indian astronauts embark on the Gaganyaan capsule.