4 astronauts for India's first manned mission to space 'Gaganyaan' identified: ISRO


Sivan used the briefing to formally announce the start of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, which will be India's second attempt to land on the moon after the failure of the Vikram lander, part of the Chandrayaan-2 mission, in September.

The Chandrayaan-3 mission will have a lander and a rover, but not an orbiter, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K Sivan told reporters at its headquarters in Bengaluru, according to an official telecast.

"Chandrayaan-3 will have a lander, rover, and a propulsion module".

In 2020, India will also launch its maiden solar mission Aditya-L1 to study the Sun's corona.

Only the United States, Russia and China have landed on the moon.

Sivan described 2020 as a big year - the year of Gaganyaan and Chandrayaan.

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Chandrayaan 3 will be similar to its second mission in 2019, which crash-landed on the moon just moments before it was supposed to soft-land. Beijing's Chang'e-4 probe touched down on the far side of the moon past year, while Israel made an unsuccessful attempt to land its Beresheet spacecraft on the moon in April 2019. In 2017, India launched a record 104 satellites in one mission. Chandrayaan 2 stands out from other missions, as it attempted to land at the little-explored South Pole.

Without naming the astronauts, he said all four are from the Indian Air Force and will start training in the third week of January in Russian Federation.

No final launch date for Chandrayaan 3 or Gangayaan While Chandrayaan 3 will be one of ISRO's top priorities in 2020, it's unlikely that the actual launch will take place this year. Indian media reported that Sivan later said it could take 14 to 16 months to complete the spacecraft, pushing the launch to 2021.

"During 2019, six launch vehicle and seven satellite missions were realised by us".

In addition to the missions planned this year, the ISRO chief also announced that a second space port will be coming up in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukudi, for which land acquisition has been initiated.

Indian moon lander Vikram may have most likely crashed on the moon because the navigation control and guidance mechanism in the penultimate phase was not created to handle the large spike in speed that developed in the last 3-5 minutes of its descent. The new venture has been formed to productionise space systems and exploit the commercial opportunities emanating from the Indian space programme like the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).