First Indian To Venture To Space Will Be a ‘Woman’

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Humanoid Vyommitra Joins ISRO’s Gaganyaan Space Mission Set For Dec 2020
Humanoid Vyommitra Joins ISRO’s Gaganyaan Space Mission Set For Dec 2020

Humanoid Joins ISRO’s Gaganyaan Space Mission Set For Dec 2020

Bengaluru: Female empowerment under the Modi government literally touched new heights when the Indian Space Indian Research Organisation (ISRO) on Wednesday decided to send a ‘woman’ to space.

But there is a catch. Vyommitra, the spacefaring ‘woman,’ is actually a human-robot developed by ISRO. However, like other women, she can talk and recognize ‘men’ (though she prefers to say ‘other humans’). She can mimic what a man or woman would do in outer space.

According to ISRO, Vyommitra can even converse on matters regarding outer space and the universe and answer queries. But ask her on CAA of NRC, she would be clueless!

Vyommitra, the ‘half-humanoid’ looks very much a modern Indian woman and Isro plans to send her to space as part of test flights that will be undertaken ahead of the ambitious launch of India’s maiden human spaceflight mission.

Vyommitra was unveiled by Isro at an event in Bengaluru on Wednesday where she greeted the press with a measured “Hi, I’m Vyommitra the first prototype of half humanoid.”

But then, she is emotionless and a ‘daughter’ of pure science. She loves facts, not fiction or speculations when in outer space. She may not be able to break into poetry in space when she sees a star-spangled universe above her or the earth wrapped in velvet blue.

But Vyommitra says she can efficiently “mimic” the activity of a crew of astronauts and even “recognize them and respond to their queries”.

However, unlike other women, Vyommitra does not have legs; she is all brain. “It’s called a half humanoid because it doesn’t have legs. It can only bend sidewards and forward. It will carry out certain experiments and will always remain in touch with the Isro command center,” Isro scientist Sam Dayal said.

Isro said it plans to send Vyommitra to space later this year when it will launch unmanned flights to space as part of the Gaganyaan project. The Gaganyaan project, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 2019 Independence Day address, is an ambitious plan of sending Indians to space.

Vyommitra will clear the way for the men to go to space. Though Isro aims to launch the manned spaceflight mission by 2022, there would be two unmanned missions — one in December this year and another in June 2021. These will demonstrate test flight aimed at proving that Isro can fly humans to space and attesting the various systems that will be part of the final manned space mission.

These test flights would be led by Vyommitra. When asked if she will accompany the men to space during their historic flight to space in 2022, she skirted the question saying she could “recognize [astronauts] and respond to their queries”.

After the success of test flights with Vyommitra, an all-men team will venture to space as part of the Gaganyaan mission. Four ace pilots of the Indian Air Force have already been shortlisted for the mission. They will receive extensive training in Russia and India. Simultaneously, doctors from the IAF will go to France to be trained in monitoring the health of astronauts who will fly to space.

Earlier, Isro had unveiled prototypes of the spacesuits and the crew capsule that will be used for the Gaganyaan mission. Vyommitra and the Gaganyaan mission will be powered into outer space by the well-proven workhorse – the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III rocket.

Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma was the first Indian to venture into outer space, but she did so as a cosmonaut on board a Russian spacecraft.

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