R Umamaheswaren was born in 1963, the same year that India initiated its space programme with the first-ever launch of a rocket into space from Indian soil. He is currently serving as the Scientific Secretary to the chairman. This was recorded at the IAC2018 (so a little noisy background). Audio and video available below.
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He first joined ISRO in 1987 as an avionics and communications engineer at the VSSC and has held several posts including
- Deputy director for the GSLV launch vehicle
- Mission director for 3 GSLV launches
- GSLV Mk3 to launch in November 2018 with high throughput satellites GSAT-29 to support the Digital India programme. A total of 100GBPS will be available from space once the other two
Fundamental system and engineering challenges have been addressed and India is ready for human spaceflight. ISRO conducted a Pad Abort Test on 5th July 2018 – Youtube video here. Currently, the roadmap looks like this
- Crew selection – discussion underway.
- Two uncrewed missions will take place – no animals required. Sensors and instruments will be sufficient.
- Astronaut training – under discussion. Astronaut training support will be required from a third country – yet to be announced.
- Not necessary for potential applicants to be test pilots.
- Prospect for a female to be part of the first crew is “very high”.
- First uncrewed flight start in late 2020.
- A longer vision for Human Spaceflight – priorities not yet defined.
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