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First glimpse of 'Vyommitra', the humanoid for Gaganyaan; it's a 'She'

Before Isro sends humans on the Gaganyaan, a female humanoid — a robot —named 'Vyommitra' will be sent as part of the first human spaceflight programme scheduled for later this year. The purpose of sending a humanoid before sending humans is not just to display Isro's capabilities but to also extensively utilise the first unmanned flight opportunities extensively.

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Last Updated: Jan 22, 2020, 02.08 PM IST
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(This story originally appeared in on Jan 22, 2020)
BENGALURU: With the first unmanned flight as part of the first human spaceflight programme (Gaganyaan) scheduled for later this year, here's the first glimpse of the humanoid that the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) hopes to send before finally sending humans in 2022. And, while India is not sending women as part of Gaganyaan, the humanoid — a robot — will be a "woman".

Named 'Vyommitra', " The TOI was the first to report that Isro had plans of sending such a humanoid in January 2019, and is now the first to introduce her.

“The humanoid is almost ready,” Isro chairman K Sivan had told TOI last year, adding: “...We want to make sure that this mission serves a purpose beyond displaying our ability to send humans and bring them back safely.”

Human


He said that Isro will fly the humanoid in both the unmanned flights planned before the actual human spaceflight mission. “Our robot will be like a human, and be able to do whatever a man can do, although not as extensively as humans," Sivan had said.

"...We want to show that even the first flight will not go empty and also ensure that we utilise the opportunity in the maximum way. We have our own humanoid model that will be used,” he added

As we speak, the final four astronaut-elects for India’s first human spaceflight programme (Gaganyaan) will begin training in Russia.

While a lot of design work has been completed for Gaganyaan already, there will be several tests that will be done this year.

Isro has made progress with the human rating of its systems, including propulsion systems and the crew escape module, among other things. “Many systems will need to be tested before the unmanned flight planned for this year, which we are planning for this year and among them will be the air-drop tests on crew escape module and we will also begin the crew training,” Sivan had said on January 1, 2020.

TOI had reported in November 2019 that two batches of astronaut-elects for Ganganyaan—a total of seven men—have completed the screening process in Russia and the final batch of five men will be leaving for Russia this weekend.

Now, of these, Sivan said, the final four have been picked. In September first week, India picked 12 IAF test pilots who cleared the level-1 screening for the Gaganyaan programme which envisages to send Indian astronauts to space by 2022.

The Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) under IAF, which selected the 12 astronauts from 60 applicants, had completed one round of screening, and Glavkosmos—a subsidiary of Roscosmos State Corporation (Russia’s space agency)— which will train them, has completed its screening enabling selection of the final four.


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