The Union Cabinet on Friday approved the ambitious indigenous Gaganyaan programme, India’s first manned mission to space by 2022, at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore. This includes the cost of technology development, flight hardware and essential infrastructure elements, government spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said on Twitter.

The programme will carry a three-member crew into space for a minimum of seven days.

In his Independence Day speech on August 15, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that India will launch a manned mission to space by 2022 and become the fourth nation to do so after Russia, the United States and China.

The manned mission will be preceded by two unmanned ones, with the first flight likely within two years, Union minister Jitendra Singh had earlier announced.

The three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle, GSLV Mk III, will be used to launch Gaganyaan, and national agencies will collaborate with the Indian Space Research Organisation to bring the mission to fruition.

The programme aims to establish a broader framework for collaboration between the national space agency, academia, industry, national agencies and other scientific organisations. It is also expected to generate employment and train human resources in advanced technologies and inspire young students to take up careers in science and technology, according to the government.