In­dia plans manned space mis­sion by De­cem­ber 2021

Kuwait Times - - Health & Technology -

BAN­GA­LORE: In­dia will send its first manned mis­sion into space by De­cem­ber 2021, the head of the coun­try’s space agency said on Fri­day. The three-per­son mis­sion would make the Asian gi­ant the fourth coun­try after Rus­sia, the United States and China to put peo­ple in space. “We are plan­ning to have the first un­manned mis­sion by De­cem­ber 2020, the sec­ond by July 2021, and the manned mis­sion by De­cem­ber 2021,” In­dian Space Re­search Or­ga­ni­za­tion (ISRO) chair­man Kailasavadi­voo Si­van said in Ban­ga­lore.

Plans for a manned mis­sion were first an­nounced by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi last year, and his gov­ern­ment has since ap­proved around $1.4 bil­lion to pro­vide tech­nol­ogy and in­fra­struc­ture. The sum would make it one of the cheapest manned space pro­grams in the world. Modi, up for re­elec­tion this year, has hailed the na­tional space pro­gram as a pres­tige project and said that both men and women could be se­lected for the mis­sion.

In­dia has al­ready in­vested heav­ily in its space pro­gram in the past decade. New Delhi is com­pet­ing with other in­ter­na­tional play­ers for a greater share of the satel­lite mar­ket, and hopes its low-cost space pro­gram will give it an edge. It sent an or­biter to Mars in 2013 which is still op­er­a­tional and last year launched a record 104 satel­lites in one blast-off. China put its first hu­mans into space in 2003 but its Shen­zhou pro­gram cost more than $2.3 bil­lion. Ex­perts say the United States spent the equiv­a­lent of about $110 bil­lion at cur­rent val­ues on prepara­tory flights and the mis­sion to put the first man on the moon in 1969. The ISRO chief said they had planned 32 mis­sions in 2019 with a bud­get of around $4.2 bil­lion. In­dian Air Force pi­lot Rakesh Sharma was the first In­dian to go into space, fly­ing on a Rus­sian mis­sion in 1984.—AFP

BAN­GA­LORE: In­dian space sci­en­tist Kailasavadi­voo Si­van, right, chair­man of the In­dian Space Re­search Or­ga­ni­za­tion (ISRO), ges­tures while ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence at the ISRO head­quar­ters An­tariksh Bha­van in Ban­ga­lore. — AFP

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