India begins countdown to blast astronauts into space in 2024


India has announced it's ready to launch its first human space flight in 2024 almost a year after making yet another attempt to land a rover on the surface of the moon.

The planned launches of the Gaganyaan series of rockets will be counted as a success of the country’s Make-In-India campaign designed to cut dependence on forbidden technology and foreign hardware.

"Although our space journey started late in comparison to America or Russia, today we are in a position where our research findings are similar to those of America and Russia," said Jitendra Singh, India's Science and Technology Minister.

"Gaganyaan would be India's first human flight and it will also be an excellent symbol of self-reliance as it will increase the confidence of the nation," he said.

Singh claimed that Covid-19, which infected 44.7 million Indians, had delayed the programme by two years.

"In the next year, there will be two preliminary launches. The first launch will be unmanned and this experiment will be done to mark the routes because if the 'Gaganyaan' rocket goes into space then it should also return safely the same way."

Officials said the second experimental launch will carry a robot resembling a human instead of real astronauts.

"When both the experiments assure that we are completely ready, and then in the third one we will send humans into space," Singh said.

The second orbital flight will take Gaganyaan capsule to a higher altitude for elaborate tests to perfect onboard flight systems.

Read more on RFI English

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