Gearing up for its maiden manned space mission 'Gaganyaan', ISRO unveiled its Human Space Flight Centre in Bengaluru on Wednesday. The space agency is gearing up for the human spaceflight programme by 2021-end that is likely to include a woman astronaut. Gaganyaan is the "highest priority" for ISRO in 2019, according to the space agency, and the plan is to have the first unmanned mission in December 2020 and second for July 2021. Once this is completed, the manned mission will happen in December 2021.
K Kasturirangan, former ISRO Chairman, in the presence of K Sivan, ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space, inaugurated the Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) Wednesday at ISRO Headquarter campus in Bengaluru, the space agency said on its website.
Directors of other ISRO Centres, former Chairman and other dignitaries were also present, it said, adding that a full-scale model of Gaganyaan’s crew module was also unveiled during the event. HSFC shall be responsible for implementation of Gaganyaan project which involves end-to-end mission planning, development of engineering systems for crew survival in space, crew selection and training and also pursue activities for sustained human space flight missions, ISRO said.
It will take the support of existing ISRO centres to implement the first development flight of Gaganyaan under the human spaceflight proogramme. S Unnikrishnan Nair is the founder director of HSFC, while R Hutton is the project director of Gaganyaan. The Union Cabinet gave its nod for the Rs 9,023 crore programme recently. Meanwhile, ISRO has selected ten companies for transfer of its Lithium-ion cell technology.
The selected firms are- Amara Raja Batteries Limited, Chittoor,Bharat Electronics Limited, Pune, Carborundum Universal Limited, Kochi, Exicom Tele-Systems Limited, Gurgaon, GOCL Corporation Limited, Hyderabad; GOCL Corporation Limited, Hyderabad,National Aluminium Co Limited, Bhubaneswar, Sukhbir Agro Energy Limited, New Delhi, Tata Chemicals Limited, Mumbai, and Thermax Limited, Pune, ISRO said on its website.
ISRO will intimate further modalities to all the applicants through individual communications, it added. In June, ISRO had issued Request for Qualification (RFQ) in connection with the technology transfer, containing a brief description of the qualification aspects, technology transfer process, timelines and other relevant details.
In August, the space agency had said it has received response from 141 companies to its RFQ. ISRO's VSSC has successfully developed and qualified lithium ion cells of capacities ranging from '1.5 Ah to 100 Ah' for use in satellites and launch vehicles. According to the space agency, lithium-ion (Li-ion) cell technology is one of the "most promising" electro chemical energy storage technologies owing to its high voltage, high energy density, long life cycle and high storage characteristics.
It finds wide applications in electronic gadgets, tele-communication and industrial applications as well as in aerospace. Recent progress in Li-ion battery technology has made it the favorite power source for electric and hybrid electric vehicles.
According to ISRO, with the successful deployment of indigenous lithium ion batteries in various missions, VSSC is planning to transfer this technology to the industries to establish production facilities for producing lithium ion cells to cover the entire spectrum of the country's power storage needs.
Floating the RFQ, ISRO had earlier said, "This initiative is expected to enable Zero Emission Policy of India and accelerate the development of indigenous electric vehicle industry."