The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up for a significant milestone in its Gaganyaan mission with a test flight scheduled for October 21. Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh made this announcement, revealing that the test vehicle development flight (TV-D1) will take place at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. This test flight will assess the crew module, which is set to house Indian astronauts during the human spaceflight mission planned for next year.
The TV-D1 test will entail launching the module into outer space, safely bringing it back to Earth, and recovering it after touchdown in the Bay of Bengal. The Indian Navy has already begun mock operations to prepare for the module's recovery.
In addition to the crew module, TV-D1 will also test the "crew escape" system, designed to bring the crew back to Earth in case of any issues during the spacecraft's ascent into space. The success of this test flight will be a crucial step toward India's Gaganyaan mission, which includes an unmanned mission followed by a manned mission in a low Earth orbit.
Minister Singh also revealed that before the ultimate manned "Gaganyaan" mission, there will be a test flight next year, which will carry "Vyommitra," a female robot astronaut.