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India to send two astronauts by its own rocket by 2017

delhi Updated: Apr 13, 2010 22:55 IST

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India will send two astronauts to space by 2017 in its own spacecraft and the Rs 12,400 project is likely to be approved before the Independence Day, ISRO chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan has said.

With this achievement, India would join the select club of America, Russia and China which have such human space flight capabilities.

The ISRO has submitted the Rs 12,400 crore project for indigenous astronaut launch programme which involves launching of Indian astronauts, using an Indian rocket from Indian soil.

The proposal is pending for the last two years but Radhakrishnan hopes the approval may come before the Independence Day. "We expect that the government will give us approval in a couple of months," the ISRO chief told NDTV.

"As of now what we have is a pre-project study. The astronaut programme will be implemented in phases," he said.

Asked if an announcement would be made in the Prime Minister's Independence Day speech, the ISRO Chief said "the approval and announcement could happen even before that".

The first phase is to test the unmanned crew module -- a service module in space four years from now. After that the
Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) will be used to launch the Indian astronauts, he said.

The Rs 12,400 crore will be needed over seven years for setting up of several ground facilities like launch pads, the mission control centre, astronaut training centre and all permanent assets on the ground.

"What goes into the orbit will be (costing) about Rs three to four thousand crores," he said.

He outlined the benefits to be rendered by such project.

"When this programme is proved in the human space flight with the long term vision that we have, 30-40 years from now, probably you could have a new source of energy. You will have several technologies which will be giving benefit to the other sectors in the economy," Radhakrishnan said.