The first unmanned test flight of Indian rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), as part of the country’s human space mission Gaganyaan, will not happen this year, said officials.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had planned the first of the two test flights later this year.
“The first flight of the rocket as part of Gaganyaan mission will not happen this year (2020),” a senior ISRO official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told IANS.
While the actual reason for the delay is not known, perhaps the Covid-19 lockdown had its impact on the first test flight.
In his address at the 70th Annual General Meeting and National Conference on “Recent Developments in Aerospace and Defence Technology” organised by Aeronautical Society of India in February, ISRO chief K. Sivan had said that the “design and engineering of the launch vehicle and orbital module system for India’s human space flight has been completed. A series of tests have to be competed to validate the design and engineering of the systems in 2020”.
As per the original plans, during the first test flight ISRO would send its humanoid Vyommitra.
The human space flight demonstration is planned before India’s 75th Independence Day in 2022 and four Indians are undergoing astronaut training in Russia.
Meanwhile, suspense continues on the revised date of launch of India’s first Geo Imaging Satellite-1 (GISAT-1).
On March 4, a day before the scheduled launch GISAT-1 onboard the GSLV-F10 rocket and hours before the start of the launch countdown, ISRO announced postponement of the mission owing to some technical glitch.