Dr S Somanath, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) refuted media reports that had claimed that ISRO’s proposed space tourism initiative would ferry tourists to space at a cost of Rs 6 crore or USD 700,000 per seat, by the year 2030. Speaking to WION, he mentioned that he had not shared any such per-seat cost or any such specific details about India’s proposed space tourism plan in any media interview or at any event. Instead, he said that the Indian space agency is now working on the all-important Indian astronaut mission ‘Gaganyaan’.
In line with what was revealed in the upper house of Indian Parliament, Dr Somanath maintains that ISRO’s space tourism activities shall be firmed up after successful completion of the Indian Astronaut mission ‘Gaganyaan’.
“The objective of India’s maiden human spaceflight programme ‘Gaganyaan’ is demonstration of human spaceflight capability to Low Earth Orbit, which is a precursor to future Space Tourism Programme. ISRO has carried out a few feasibility studies for a sub-orbital space tourism mission,” Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State had revealed to the parliament in February 2023.
Given that ‘Gaganyaan’ is India’s maiden attempt at ferrying astronauts to space on an Indian launch vehicle, a host of tests are being carried out by ISRO in order to test and prove the reliability, robustness of the systems. As per the information revealed in the ongoing session of the Lok Sabha (India’s ower house of parliament), the first test vehicle mission for ‘Gaganyaan’, TV-D1, is planned in May 2023. This will be followed by the second test vehicle TV-D2 mission and first uncrewed mission of ‘Gaganyaan’ (LVM3-G1) in the first quarter of 2024.
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