From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Vyommitra, Gaganyaan Mission
Mains level : Not Much
Vyommitra, the humanoid designed and developed by the ISRO to fly aboard unmanned test missions ahead of the Gaganyaan human space-flight mission, is undergoing pre-flight ground tests at the ISRO Inertial Systems Unit (IISU).
- The AI-based robotic system is developed at a robotics lab at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) at Thumba, Thiruvananthapuram.
- Vyommitra will be used for an unmanned flight of ISRO’s GSLV III rocket in December 2020, which, along with a second unmanned flight in July 2021.
- This will serve as the test of ISRO’s preparedness for its maiden manned space mission, Gaganyaan, being targeted for 2022 to mark 75 years of India’s independence.
Functions of the humanoid
- Vyommitra, equipped with a head, two arms and a torso, is built to mimic crew activity inside the crew module of Gaganyaan.
- Attaining launch and orbital postures, responding to the environment, generating warnings, replacing carbon dioxide canisters, and operating switches, monitoring of the crew module, receiving voice commands, and responding via speech (bilingual) are among the functions listed.
- It will have a human-like face, with lips synchronized for movement to mimic speech.
- Once it is fully developed, Vyommitra will be able to use the equipment on board the spacecraft’s crew module, like safety mechanisms and switches, as well as receive and act on commands sent from ground stations.
What is the recent development?
- The IISU has successfully integrated it with a computer “brain”, which enables it to “read” control panels aboard the unmanned test flights and communicate with the ISRO ground stations.
- It has a certain level of intelligence.
- It is intended to operate and read the display panels and communicate back to ground station using its own voice.
Back2Basics: Gaganyaan Mission
- Gaganyaan is crewed orbital spacecraft intended to be the formative spacecraft of the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme (IHSP).
- The IHSP was initiated in 2007 by ISRO to develop the technology needed to launch crewed orbital spacecraft into low Earth orbit.
- ISRO had been working on related technologies and it performed a Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment and a Pad Abort Test for the mission.
- If completed in meantime, India will become the fourth nation to conduct independent human spaceflight after Russia, US, and China.