Vikash Sharma

Narendra Modi on Tuesday became the first Prime Minister to visit the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in four decades.

Modi also met the four astronaut-designates of India's Gaganyaan Mission. Before meeting the four astronauts, the Prime Minister dedicated to the nation the three important space infrastructure projects at VSSC which include the PSLV Integration Facility (PIF) at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. This will help boost the frequency of PSLV launches from 6 to 15 per year.

At Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, PM Modi said, "By 2035, India will have its own space station in space that will help us study the unknown expanses of space. In this period of Amrit Kaal, Indian astronaut will land on the surface of the moon on our own rocket."

According to PM Modi, he was very happy to know that most of the equipment used in Gaganyaan is 'Made in India'. “What a great coincidence it is that when India is taking off to become the top 3 economy of the world, at the same time India's Gaganyaan is also going to take our space sector to a new height,” said the PM.

ISRO Chairman S Somanath briefed the Prime Minister about the various items on display depicting India’s ongoing space programme.

After a brief video show, the four test pilots of India's Gaganyaan Mission were introduced to the Prime Minister and were presented ‘astronaut wings’ by him.

The four-member team of astronauts is led by the Indian Air Force’s Sukhoi fighter pilot Group Captain Prashanth B. Nair who belongs to the state and Group Captain Ajit Krishnan, Group Captain Angad Pratap and Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla.

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"I am happy that today I got the opportunity to meet these astronauts and present them in front of the country. I want to congratulate them on behalf of the entire country...You are the pride of today's India," the Prime Minister stated.

On Gaganyaan mission, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh tweeted, "With the absolute support and patronage provided by PM Modi, it is today possible that India is taking lead in the Space sector, as the whole world looks up to Bharat while Gaganyaan prepares to carry Indian astronauts into the Space."

(With IANS Inputs)