India's manned mission not before 2012, says G. Madhavan Nair

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Bangalore, Oct 24 : Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman G. Madhavan Nair has said that India's manned mission would take atleast another three years.

India's space programme took a leap on Wednesday when the ISRO undertook a flawless lift off of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) carrying Chandrayaan-I, a cuboid spacecraft which includes a Moon Impactor Probe gadget.

India hopes to send an astronaut into space by 2012 and a manned mission to the moon by 2020.

The Indian Government has approved the launch of Chandrayaan-2, which is expected to take off between 2010 and 2012, and will include a rover that will land on the moon.

Nair revealed that the ISRO has indeed planned the logical, complex and ultimate manned mission next in the pipeline.

"Looking at the global scenario and also our own priorities, we believe that undertaking a manned mission is very important and for that we are now conducting a basic study as to what technologies needs to be developed, what facilities needs to be established and how the reliability of launch system has to be improved and so on," Nair told Asian News International in an interview.

"So this programme, once it is launched, of course it is very complex. We have to understand many fundamentals. The information available from the literature is very few. So, with that our estimate is that it may take up to 2012, before we can have man around earth and back," Nair added.

India had sent an Air Force pilot, Rakesh Sharma in space aboard the Russian Soyuz rocket way back in 1984 when the then Soviet Union sent cosmonauts from a number of Eastern bloc to space, but New Delhi did not follow up that programme.

Two other Indian origin astronauts have been to space aboard NASA's space shuttle but ISRO still lacks a manned mission.

The Chandrayaan-I project cost 79 million dollars, considerably less than the Chinese and Japanese probe in 2007.

ISRO says the moon mission will pave the way for India to claim a bigger chunk of the global space business.

"We have launched almost 16 satellites for other countries. It will show the reliability and confidence of PSLV system. I am sure more and more opportunities will come in the near future," Nair said.

India started its space programme in 1963, developing its own satellites and launch vehicles to reduce dependence on overseas agencies. By K G Vasuki

ANI

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