Gaganyaan Mission: Meet 4 picked Astronauts

Gaganyaan is a special Indian spaceship meant for people. It’s part of the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme. This spaceship is designed to carry three astronauts, and there are plans to make it even better with features like meeting up with other objects in space.

During its first trip with people on board, it will fly around the Earth 400 km above for about seven days. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is in charge, and they aim to launch it in 2025, even though it was initially planned for December 2021.

The crew module made by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) had its first test flight without people on December 18, 2014. By May 2019, they finished designing it. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is helping with important stuff like space food, healthcare for the crew, measuring and protecting against radiation, making sure the crew module safely lands with parachutes, and having a system to stop fires.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared the names of four pilots training for India’s first human space mission, ‘Gaganyaan.’ They are Group Captain P Balakrishnan Nair, Group Captain Ajit Krishnan, Group Captain Angad Pratap, and Wing Commander S Shukla.

The Prime Minister also gave special ‘astronaut wings’ to the four astronauts in training.

“I am happy that today I got the opportunity to meet these astronauts and present them in front of the country. I want to congratulate them on behalf of the entire country. You are the pride of today’s India,India’s success in the space sector is sowing the seeds of scientific temperament in the country’s young generation” PM Modi said during his address.

The four astronauts who were selected are:

1. Group Captain Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair

Gp Capt Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair was born in Thiruvazhiyad, Kerala on 26 Aug 1976.

He is alumnus of NDA and recipient of Sword of Honour at Air Force Academy. He was commissioned on 19 Dec 1998 in the fighter stream of IAF. He is a Cat A Flying Instructor and a Test Pilot with approx 3000 hrs of flying experience. He has flown a variety of ac including Su-30 MKI, MiG-21, MiG-29, Hawk, Dornier, An-32, etc. He is also an alumnus of United States Staff College and a DS at DSSC, Wellington and FIS, Tambaram. He has commanded a premier fighter Su-30 Sqn.

2. Group Captain Ajit Krishnan

Group Captain Ajit Krishnan was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu on 19 Apr 1982.

He is an alumnus of NDA and recipient of the President’s Gold Medal and Sword of Honour at Air Force Academy. He was commissioned on 21 June 2003 in the fighter stream of IAF. He is a Flying Instructor and a Test Pilot with approx 2900 hrs of flying experience. He has flown a variety of ac including Su-30 MKI, MiG-21, MiG-21, Mig-29, Jaguar, Dornier, An-32 etc. He is also an alumnus of DSSC, Wellington.

3. Group Captain Angad Pratap

Group Captain Angad Pratap was born in Prayagraj on 17 July 1982.

He is an alumnus of NDA and was commissioned on 18 Dec 2004 in the fighter stream of IAF. He is a Flying Instructor and a Test Pilot with approx 2000 hrs of flying experience. He has flown a variety of ac including Su-30 MKI, MiG-21, MiG-29, Jaguar, Hawk, Dornier, An-32 etc.

4. Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla

Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla was born in Lucknow, UP on 10 Oct 1985.

He is an alumnus of NDA and was commissioned on 17 June 2006 in the fighter stream of IAF. He is a Fighter Combat Leader and a Test Pilot with approx 2000 hrs of flying experience. He has flown a variety of ac including Su-30 MKI, MiG-21, MiG-29, Jaguar, Hawk, Dornier, An-32 etc.

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