New Delhi: Neither the Space Headquarters in Bengaluru nor any metropolitan city, India's world class facility for training astronauts is all set to be established in an arid oilseed town on the Bengaluru-Pune NH4 in the district of Karnataka.
ISRO has proposed a 2700 crore master plan for India's world class facility for training astronauts, to be established in 3 years, at Challakere.
This master plan is to create top infrastructure, housing the young Human Space Flight Centre, for training astronauts so that 'our brilliant minds' do not have to move to other countries in search of expertise.
ISRO chairman and Secretary, Department of Space, K Sivan said, "Everything connected with events and planning of the Human Spaceflight Program will shift to the campus at Challakere. We want to establish a self contained facility there, so that in future whatever training and activities we are now doing in Russia for the Gaganyaan crew can all be done by us."
The 400 acre ISRO land at Challakere will be the single stop for space travelers, consolidating infrastructure and activities under one roof. This will also help India to save a hefty sum which it pays to use such facilities in other countries.
Dr Sivan said that India needed such full-fledged facilities as HSP would not be a one time affair with one Gaganyaan project. India is going to have sustained HSP and will need a large number of facilities for training future astronauts. "The ISRO has sought an amount outside the 10,000 crore budget of Gaganyaan and awaits the government's approval for the proposal," stated ISRO chief.
It is worth mentioning that HSP was formally announced in January 2019 and is currently working from a temporary place at the ISRO headquarters, Antariksh Bhavan. S Unnikrishnan Nair has been named its founder director, while R. Hutton is the project director of Gaganyaan.