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PM Modi Reveals Gaganyaan Astronaut Designates

Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the names of the four Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots designated as astronauts for India’s Gaganyaan human spaceflight mission, set for 2025. The astronauts, Group Captain Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair, Group Captain Ajit Krishnan, Group Captain Angad Pratap, and Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla, were awarded ‘astronaut wings’ during the announcement. Mr. Modi disclosed their identities during his visit to the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram.

These individuals have undergone rigorous training in Russia and at the Astronaut Training Facility in Bengaluru, established by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The final crew for the mission will be selected from among these four candidates. The Gaganyaan programme aims to demonstrate India’s indigenous capability for human spaceflight to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), paving the way for a sustained Indian human space exploration programme.

ISRO is conducting various tests in preparation for the mission, including Integrated Air Drop tests and unmanned flights, with plans to send astronauts to the moon by 2040.

During his visit, PM Modi reviewed progress on the Gaganyaan Mission and dedicated three technical facilities developed at a cost of about ₹1,800 crore to the nation, including a Trisonic Wind Tunnel, PSLV Integration Facilities, and the Semi-cryogenic Integrated Engine and Stage Test Facility. The presence of Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan added to the significance of the occasion.