India will send a female robot “Vyommitra” in the Gaganyaan mission, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said at the NDTV G20 Conclave today.
Mr Singh said a trial spaceflight will be attempted in the first or second week of October. In the subsequent mission, the female robot “Vyommitra” will be sent to space, said Mr Singh, the Union Minister of State for Science and Technology.
“The Gaganyaan project got delayed due to the pandemic. Now we are planning the first trial mission in October first or second week. Bringing back the astronauts is as important as sending them,” the Union Minister said.
“In the second mission, there will be a female robot and she will mimic all human activities. If everything goes perfect, then we can have a go-ahead,” Mr Singh said.
He also narrated the relief they felt when the Chandrayaan-3 lander finally touched down near the Moon’s south pole.
“Those who have been very closely associated with the ISRO team, we nervous. My first nervous moment was when the Chandrayaan-3 craft left Earth’s orbit for the Moon’s orbit… The landing was so smooth,” Mr Singh said.
He said the Moon landing was a quantum jump in the journey of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the country.
“It happened because Prime Minister Narendra Modi threw open the space sector. Till about 2019, the gates of Sriharikota were closed, but this time the media and schoolchildren were invited. It was owned by the people this time,” the Union Minister said, adding the funding for the space programme has been increased.
India is the first nation to land a spacecraft near the Moon’s south pole, and the fourth nation to send a lander to the Moon successfully after the erstwhile USSR, the US and China.