Why Designers Chose Asymmetric Uniform For Gaganyaan Astronauts

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Exclusive: Why Designers Chose Asymmetric Uniform For Gaganyaan Astronauts

The astronaut patch includes the wings, Ashok Chakra and the ISRO logo.

The Indian space agency had roped in the country’s top fashion institute to design the ground uniforms for the four astronauts chosen for its maiden space flight mission, Gaganyaan.

The names of the four astronauts were revealed last month and extensive preparations are underway at various Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) centres for the ambitious programme.

The astronauts met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February in a blue ground uniform designed by a team from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Bengaluru. The NIFT team also designed the wings for the astronauts. They specifically chose an asymmetric design to give the uniform a unique energetic look with the blue color signifying the sky and peace. The fabric chosen was Indian cotton-based.

NDTV’s Science Editor Pallava Bagla visited the design lab of Prof Jonalee Bajpai, who led the designers’ team that worked on the uniform, to learn how fashion technologists have been contributing to the look and feel of Gaganyaan.

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Prof Jonalee Bajpai explains the significance of blue colour in the ground uniform

The uniform worn by the astronauts that day was chosen from a catalogue of 70 different choices provided to the ISRO by the NIFT. “My team worked on 150 designs and presented 70 different options to the ISRO team, from which we came down to an asymmetric style, which is dynamic,” said Prof Bajpai.

The ground uniform is different from the astronaut suits, which India has bought from Russia.

Uniform Dynamics Explained

The blue colour signifies calmness, peace and a sense of perseverance, said Prof Bajpai.

“We also arrived at a beautiful balance of colours with dark and light blue, and some horizontal stripes,” she added.

The astronaut patch includes the wings, Ashok Chakra and the ISRO logo.

“The wings resemble the opening of solar panels and give the feeling of positivity, abundance, flight and height. This also signifies that the astronauts are from the Indian Air Force. At the centre of it is the Ashok Chakra. We have merged the ISRO logo with the Chakra and the wings, which talks about the confluence of so many factors coming together,” she said.

Why Asymmetric Design

The ground uniform has an asymmetric design with light blue on one side and dark blue on another. Asymmetry is very dynamic, holds a lot of visual information, and looks youthful, explained Dr Mohan V K, fashion technologist at NIFT, Bengaluru.

Dr Mohan V K explains the asymmetric design in the ground uniform

Dr Mohan V K explains the asymmetric design in the ground uniform

“The requirement was that this particular suit should excite 140 crore Indians. Secondly, it should be a loud announcement of India’s entry to the elite space club of nations with space flight capabilities. Based on such requirements, we narrowed down our design directions to asymmetry,” said Dr Mohan.

Prashanth Nair, Angad Prathap, Ajit Krishnan, and Shubhanshu Shukla are the four test pilots of the Indian Air Force who have been chosen for the Gaganyaan mission. The human space flight mission aims to launch a three-member crew into a Low Earth Orbit and bring them back after three days.

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