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Emerging opportunities for human space research in India

With the advancement of technology, humans’ aspiration, and quest to explore deep space are on the rise. Today, various space agencies across the globe are planning for the human-crewed Mars mission. Russia, United States and China are the only countries to have achieved independent human spaceflight capabilities. India is also aiming to join them in near future.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has exhibited its orderly gained space technologies capabilities and has started working on Human Space Program (HSP) and planning to carry out its first human-crewed orbital space flight mission named Gaganyaan 2022. The country is also at this early stage looking beyond low Earth orbit.

The first unmanned mission was planned in December 2020, but had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Rs 10,000 crore Gaganyaan mission aims to send a three-member crew to space for a period of five to seven days by 2022 when India completes 75 years of independence.

In order to enhance the diffusion of space technology and boost space economy within the country, the Department of Space (DOS) has announced to open up space sector to Non-Government-Private-Entities (NGPEs) in the year 2020. Participation of NGPEs including academic institutions, start-ups and industries in end-to-end space activities is expected to expand the space economy.

Looking to present government stand for space sector expansion and scanty expertise available in India for a successful Human Space Mission, it is proper time to utilise resources and intellectual power in this area.

Multidisciplinary Universities can contribute successfully in this segment by providing a platform to researchers from all disciplines like Medicine, Pharmacy, Electronics, Computer, Mechanical, Chemical engineering, basic science, Law etc. Making academicians and researchers aware about emerging field of space medicine or space life sciences is a demand of time. Development of human resources in this new fields of space technology and capabilities will help to accelerate economic growth of country.

Author: Dr Priti Mehta, Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Analysis