India’s first human space flight mission, Gaganyaan, is likely to be delayed by a year owing to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. “That (Ganganyaan mission) will be delayed because of Covid,” ISRO chairperson K Sivan told PTI.
“We are targeting for some time next year-end or the subsequent year,” he said on being asked about the two uncrewed missions before an astronaut is sent to space. The first of these was scheduled for December 2020, the second for June 2021, before the first manned mission on December 2021 ahead of the Prime Minister’s deadline. In his Independence Day address of 2018, the PM had said that an Indian astronaut will be sent to space before the country celebrates its 75th year of Independence in 2022.
The pandemic has also delayed other big-ticket missions that ISRO had planned for the year, including India’s first solar mission – Aditya L1 – scheduled for mid-2020.
Space activity cannot be done through work from home. Each and every one of the space engineers has to be available in labs, industries, integration areas, as well as the field.