The Minister of Science and Technology recently announced that India is set to launch Vyommitra, a female robot astronaut, into space as part of the ambitious Gaganyaan project.
- Vyommitra is a combination of two Sanskrit words Vyoma (Space) and Mitra (Friend).
- It is a female robot designed and developed by the ISRO to fly aboard unmanned test missions ahead of the Gaganyaan human spaceflight mission.
- It is referred to as a half-humanoid robot as she doesn't have legs. However, she can bend forward and sideways.
- Besides going on uncrewed Gaganyaan missions, she will accompany astronauts on manned missions too.
- The AI-enabled robot, which can withstand vibrations and shock during the flight, has been designed to resemble a human with facial expressions, speech, and sight capabilities.
- It is equipped with the capability to monitor module parameters, issue alerts, and execute life support operations.
- It can perform tasks such as operating switch panels, and serving as a companion to astronauts, engaging in conversations, recognising them, and responding to their inquiries.
What is the Gaganyaan mission?
- Under the Gaganyaan Mission, ISRO will be sending three humans to an orbit of 400 km for a 3-day mission and bringing them back safely to Earth.
- Launch Vehicle: The Mark-3 (LVM3/GSLV Mk3) rocket, the well-proven and reliable heavy lift launcher of ISRO, is identified as the launch vehicle for the Gaganyaan mission.
- The Astronaut Training Facility established in Bengaluru provides a comprehensive training program for astronauts preparing for the Gaganyaan mission.
Q1) What is GSLV Mk3?
It is the new heavy lift launch vehicle of ISRO for achieving a 4000 kg spacecraft launching capability to GTO (Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit) in a cost effective manner. GSLV MKIII (43.5 m height and a gross lift-off weight of 640 tonnes) is configured as a three-stage vehicle with two solid strap-on motors (S200), one liquid core stage (L110) and a high thrust CUS (configured with the fully indigenous cryogenic engine - CE20).