PM announces four astronauts for Gaganyaan mission

Thiruvananthapuram: Group Captains Prashanth Balakrishnan Nair, Angad Prathap, Ajit Krishnan and Wing Commander Shubanshu Shukla have been selected as astronaut-designates for the Gaganyaan human spaceflight programme, the country’s India’s first crewed mission to space.

Their names were revealed during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. He also gave astronaut wings to the officers.

The astronaut-designates have been giving extensive training in Russia and various centres of ISRO, for the scheduled launch next year. Prashanth is a native of Nenmara in Palakkad. He joined the Air Force as a fighter pilot after his training at National Defence Academy in 1999.

“They are not just 4 names or 4 human beings, they are the four powers that are going to take the aspirations of 140 crore Indians to space. An Indian is going to space, after 40 years. This time, the time is ours, the countdown is ours and the rocket is also ours,” said Modi.

He also said that the country will be a global commercial hub for space operations in the next 10 years.

“We will be going to the moon again. Mars is on our list. By 2030 we will have our space station which will help in our understanding of the space. Our astronauts will be landing on the moon in our space vehicle,” said the Prime Minister.

According to him the youth of the country can showcase their talent to the world with the opening of the space sector through 100% FDI.

The Prime Minister also inaugurated three major projects worth Rs 1800 crore. Modi dedicated the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) set up at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, Semi-cryogenic Integrated Engine and Stage Test Facility (SIET) at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu and the Trisonic Wind Tunnel at the VSSC. Modi is the first Prime Minister to visit VSSC since its formation.