Earlier this week, ISRO took the first, small but significant step towards realizing human space flight by successfully conducting a test of the Crew Escape System that provides an escape mechanism for astronauts if the launch operation is aborted. From a report: “This is one of the critical technologies for a future human space programme,” said K. Sivan, chairman of ISRO. “When you are flying with the humans, if there is something wrong during the launch, this will help them escape to a safe place.” Only three countries — USA, Russia and China — have human space flight programmes. The only Indian citizen to ever travel to space was fighter pilot Rakesh Sharma who flew aboard Soyuz T-11, a spacecraft of the former USSR in 1984. India does not have a human space flight programme. “ISRO always does research and development activity and develops technologies keeping future needs in mind,” said Sivan.
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