Indian Prime Minister Says Country Will Launch Astronauts into Space By 2022

Escape tower fires for crew vehicle. (Credit: ISRO)

Speaking 0n the 72nd anniversary of Indian independence, Prime Minister Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the nation would launch astronauts into space within four years.

“India has always advanced in space science but we have decided that by 2022 when India completes 75 years of Independence, or before that, a son or daughter of India will go to space with a tricolor in their hands,” Modi said.

Indian news outlets are reporting the country is planning to send three astronauts, known as vyomnauts (spacenauts), into Earth orbit on a mission lasting five to seven days.

ISRO would spend 90 billion rupees ($1.28 billion) on the initial program, which would two uncrewed flight tests before the vyomnauts fly in a spacecraft launched by a GSLV Mk. 3 booster.

On July 5, ISRO successfully tested a crew escape system that blasted away a simulated crew module with a mass of 12.6 metric tons.


  • envy

    Why can’t we call astronauts from non-English speaking countries astronauts? The translation is the same, we don’t have to transliterate everything.

  • Emmet Ford

    We can call them astronauts. Nothing is stopping us. But we can also call Russians cosmonauts and we can call Chinese taikonauts, since that’s what they choose to call themselves and doing so takes almost no effort whatsoever.

    If we want to stick with a single term, we should call everyone cosmonauts since the Russians were the first to put a human in space. But you do you.

  • Smokey_the_Bear

    A decade from now all those terms will be gone. If I fly on the BFR from the US to Europe, am I now an “astronaut”. 🙂

    It still has prestige to it, but once enough people do it, the naming of a space-bound human will fade away.

  • I hope NASA/ESA are working with ISRO to ensure their spacecraft is compatible with the ISS.

  • passinglurker

    I think it’s more respectful of the accomplishment of domestic manned space flight to call them by the name their country chose. I see nothing wrong with adding another x-onaut to the list when it’s earned.

  • windbourne

    It would be nice to allow India to join ISS.
    There were good reasons to not allow china, but not India.

  • therealdmt

    By 2022 (or earlier), eh?

    Well, good luck to them and I hope they make their deadline. However, I sure hope that 2022 doesn’t beat the US!

    Last manned launch from US soil: July 21, 2011

    Time since last manned launch from US soil: 7 years 26 days and counting…

  • Paul_Scutts

    Forget ?nauts, just call them all in English “Spacers” (credit Isaac Asimov).

  • envy

    I can’t wait until a time when it’s an anachronism of the days when only governments could put people into space and created those names for national pride.

  • passinglurker

    Probably when private citizens travel to the moons of jupiter until then I’m sure there will always be some frontier for government employees to explore…

  • And “join” can be a loose term. It could just mean “allowed to dock and do some experiments”.

  • Terry Rawnsley

    The proper term will be “passenger.” “X-onaut” will still apply to those who make their living as crewmembers on space flights. Some science fiction writers called them “spacers.”

  • Terry Rawnsley

    Everything always takes longer than we expect or hope. Best of luck to them building from the ground up.

  • Vladislaw

    I was plugging, in 2009, the phrase Astrotechs .. a lot could fall under that meme..