The Union Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh has stated that that the launch of the first-ever manned mission by ISRO to Space “Gaganyaan” will not be affected by COVID pandemic. The preparations still on schedule, said the Minister of State.
In a report by PIB, the training of the four Indian astronauts in Russia had to be halted by the Chairman of ISRO and the scientific have assured that there was a "cushion" in the training programme and the launch deadline. The report says, "Briefing about the important achievements of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Department of Space over the last one year and some of the important missions planned for the future, Dr Jitendra Singh said that even though because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the training of four Indian astronauts in Russia had to be halted, yet the opinion of Chairman ISRO and the scientific team is that there had been kept a “cushion” both in the training programme and launch deadline."
The astronauts training have been restarted and the launch will take place as scheduled - before the 75th anniversary of India's Independence in 2022. The report also stated that a regulatory body called Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre will be created to encourage private companies participation in OSRO activities. The report stated, "Elaborating on the cabinet decision to encourage private participation in ISRO activities, Dr Jitendra Singh said, a regulatory body called “Indian National Space Promotion & Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe)” is to be established. This will help provide a level playing field to private players and encourage their participation."
Dr Jitendra Singh explained that other than enhancing the capacity and resources of space missions, there will also be increased participation of private players. This is expected to discourage the brain drain of space scientists and experts. About the Chandrayaan-3 Lunar mission, Singh explained that it has been planned for launch next year. This mission will feature a lander, rover and a propulsion system to carry the modules but there will be no orbiter because the previous orbiter is fully operational.