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originally posted by: Skush
Is that what they spend their foreign aid money on?
originally posted by: anzha
India has been set on joining the three space faring nations in placing people into orbit. They have been building their own rockets capable of placing a payload into orbit large enough for a human occupied capsule to make the journey safely. The rocket, called the GLSV Mk III, has flown a number of times. The capsule, called Gaganyaan (meaning sky vehicle), has been undergoing testing for some time as well.
The Gaganyaan capsule will carry three astronauts and mass in a 7,800 kg (17,200 lbs) range including the service module. This is in comparison to the American Orion (33,446 kg, up to 6 crew), Dragon V2 (9500+ kg, up to 7 crew) and CST-100 (13,000 kg, 7 crew) capsules. The Russian Soyuz has a mass around 7,200 kg and a crew of 3 for comparison as well.
Gaganyaan has been testing since 2007. There have been two reentry tests and a pad abort test. In December 2020, the capsule will be placed in orbit unmanned. This is similar to the recent Boeing CST-100 Starliner test and the upcoming SLS/Orion test in 2021. In 2021, India intends to launch the capsule with its first crew.
If they are successful, India will become the fourth truly space faring nation. Russia, the US and China are the only ones with independent human spaceflight capabilities. or sorta. The US is currently dependent on Russia and has been since the space shuttle was retired over 8 years ago. The US is working on three different capsules so as to not have single point of failure again like it has in the past.
Once successful, India would be legible to join the International Space Station once its docking technology is up to snuff. This is in contrast with the Chinese which are forbidden by US law. Indian astronauts may be able to fly on the Orion to the Gateway station, but it is doubtful India will have any rockets with the necessary throw to place manned capsules that far out.
Even so, the addition of another nation with the capability to go into space with people is exciting. Space is hard, as Boeing just found out again, and I hope the Indians do well.
3. Or whatever their local name will be. Americans have astronauts. Russians have cosmonauts. Chinese have taikonauts (semi officially).