Indian space agency ISRO will send a half-humanoid female into space as part of its human space mission programme Gaganyaan, said officials. The robot -- Vyommitra -- was unveiled by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Bengaluru. It is called half-humanoid since it does not have legs, though it can bend forward and sideways. 
  1. According to ISRO, Vyommitra can recognise humans and answer questions as well as carry out some experiments. It can monitor biological parameters and operate switch panels and life-support activities. Vyommitra can also converse with astronauts.
  2. ISRO Chairman K.Sivan had said that two test space missions would be carried out before sending three Indian astronauts into space sometime in 2022.
  3. The test missions expected by this year-end and mid-2021 will validate ISRO's crew module and its systems.
  4. Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is shortlisting four astronauts to get trained in Russia for the purpose.
  5. The Indian space agency has already developed systems for space capsule re-entry, recovery and crew escape.
  6. Previously, Isro unveiled prototypes of the spacesuits and the crew capsule that will be used for the Gaganayaan mission. 
  7. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III rocket, which will fly the astronauts to space, has already been developed and has proven its mettle.
  8. Isro aims to launch the manned spaceflight mission by 2022. Before that, the space agency will launch two unmanned missions -- one in December this year and another in June 2021. 
  9. These will demonstration test flight aimed at proving that Isro can fly humans to space and at testing the various systems that will be part of the final manned space mission.
  10. The humanoid Vyommitra will be part of both the unmanned spaceflights during which she will mimic crew activity
Gaganyaan Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS)
  1. The key role of Vyommitra shall be to support the crew in operations of Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS)
  2. Earth’s natural life support system provides the air we breathe, the water for drinking and other conditions that support life. However, for humans to survive in space, these functions must be done by artificial means. 
  3. The ECLSS is a system of regenerative life support mechanism which provides clean air and water to the crew through artificial means.
  4. The main functions of ECLSS are to supply oxygen for metabolic consumption and remove carbon dioxide from the cabin air. The particulates and micro-organism are filtered from the cabin air.
  5. ECLSS supply the potable water for human consumption, food preparation and hygiene uses. Overall maintains total cabin pressure, temperature and humidity levels are undertaken by ECLSS.