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Gaganyaan Mission: Meet the Four Astronauts Selected for India's First Human Spaceflight Program

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Tuesday, during an event at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, revealed the names of four astronauts chosen for India's ambitious human space flight mission, Gaganyaan, showcasing India's expanding role in the global space arena. 

Bestowing astronaut wings upon them, PM Modi introduced Group Captain Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair, Group Captain Ajit Krishnan, Group Captain Angad Pratap, and Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla as the pioneers for this groundbreaking journey.

Scheduled to launch a three-member crew into Low Earth Orbit for a three-day mission, Gaganyaan signifies a significant leap for India's space program. The selected astronauts have undergone rigorous training, encompassing technical knowledge and physical fitness, ensuring their preparedness for the mission's challenges.

Prime Minister Modi, expressing pride in India's achievements, emphasized the transformative potential of the Gaganyaan mission. He hailed the selected astronauts as symbols of India's collective aspirations, poised to represent the aspirations of 140 crore Indians in space. Reflecting on India's progress since Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma's historic space journey in 1984, PM Modi highlighted the nation's growing stature in space exploration.

Underlining India's evolving role as a global space power, PM Modi noted the Gaganyaan mission's significance in propelling India's space sector to greater heights. He emphasized that India's advancements in space technology not only foster scientific curiosity among the youth but also position the nation as a dynamic player in the 21st-century global landscape.

The Gaganyaan mission, India's maiden human spaceflight endeavor, is undergoing meticulous preparations across various ISRO centers. Envisioned to demonstrate India's human spaceflight capabilities, the mission aims to orbit crew members at an altitude of 400 km for three days before safely returning them to Earth.

Further, ISRO has completed acceptance tests for the flight engine designated for the mission, scheduled tentatively for the second quarter of 2024. This engine, powering the upper stage of the human-rated LVM3 vehicle, boasts a thrust capability of 19 to 22 tonnes.

India's recent space achievements, including the successful soft landing of Chandrayaan-3 on the Moon's South Pole and the launch of Aditya-L1, the country's first solar mission, highlight its growing capabilities in space exploration. With ambitious goals on the horizon, including the establishment of the Bharatiya Antariksha Station by 2035 and sending the first Indian to the Moon by 2040, India's journey into the cosmos continues to captivate the imagination of the world.

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