India’s Gaganyaan Mission and its Astronauts

India is poised to take a giant leap in its spacefaring journey with the ambitious Gaganyaan mission, its first human spaceflight program. Named after the Sanskrit word for “celestial vehicle,” Gaganyaan aims to send a crew of four astronauts into low Earth orbit for a three-day mission.

The Astronauts:

On February 27, 2024, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the identities of the four Indian Air Force pilots chosen for the prestigious mission:

  • Gp Capt Prashanth Balakrishnan Nair
  • Gp Capt Angad Prathap
  • Gp Capt Ajit Krishnan
  • Wg Cdr Shubanshu Shukla

These individuals have undergone rigorous training at the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) astronaut training facility in Bengaluru, preparing them for the physical and mental demands of space travel. While only three astronauts will form the crew for the first mission, all four individuals will continue their training, fostering a pool of qualified astronauts for future endeavors.

Mission Details:

While the initial crewed mission is targeted for 2025, India plans to launch its first uncrewed test flight of the Gaganyaan spacecraft before the end of 2024. This crucial step will provide valuable data on the spacecraft’s performance and pave the way for the historic crewed mission.

MCQs based on the passage on India’s Gaganyaan Mission:

1. What is the name of India’s first human spaceflight program?

  • a) Chandrayaan
  • b) Aditya-1
  • c) Gaganyaan
  • d) LVM3

Ans : c) Gaganyaan

2. What is the literal meaning of the word “Gaganyaan” in Sanskrit?

  • a) Lunar Chariot
  • b) Celestial Vehicle
  • c) Solar Probe
  • d) Orbital Station

Ans : b) Celestial Vehicle

3. How many astronauts will be part of the first crewed Gaganyaan mission?

  • a) 1
  • b) 2
  • c) 3
  • d) 4

Ans : c) 3

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