Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced that India will launch a manned mission to space by 2022. India will attempt to become the fourth nation to achieve this feat after Russia, the United States and China.
“In space technology, we have dreamt something, our scientists have dreamt something,” Modi said in his Independence Day speech from Delhi’s Red Fort. “And I am happy to announce that by 2022, the 75th Independence year, we are planning a manned space mission. We will put an Indian in space by 2022 or earlier.”
Rakesh Sharma, an Indian Air Force pilot, is the only Indian citizen to have been to space. He flew on board a Russian spacecraft, and was awarded the Ashoka Chakra for his achievement.
Modi also hailed the contribution of Indian scientists. “Our scientists have made us proud,” he said. “They launched over 100 satellites...They successfully completed the Mars mission.” The Indian Space Research Organisation at present has a probe orbiting the planet.
Meanwhile, ISRO Chairperson K Sivan said the project to launch the mission was under way and it is planning to put an Indian astronaut in space for a week at a cost of less than Rs 10,000 crore, reported IANS. “Our plan is to have a human being in space for seven days and not less than that,” said Sivan. “He will be in a spacecraft, 300 to 400 km above earth.”
Sivan said there will be two unmanned space missions before the actual manned one, with the first unmanned flight two years from now. He added that a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III rocket will be used for the manned mission.
He said that ISRO is already working on some of the technologies, and the idea is to develop everything within India. Earlier, Sivan had told ANI that ISRO already has a crew module and escape systems.
ISRO was waiting for a formal approval for the project, said Sivan.