India's ambition to explore the outer space seems taking off. The Planning Commission on Friday sanctioned Rs 12,400 crore for the lunar project.
“We support the project. It is a long term plan and good for the country,” said Planning Commission's deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia. The announcement came after a meeting of a task force on the space mission.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had inked agreement with Russia in December 2008 to collaborate for the human space mission. Russia was supposed to help in pre-project work, but there was no formal approval for it.
“It (agreement) was part of pre-project work for which we got Rs 95 crore,” said ISRO director Dr K. Radhakrishnan.
But it was on Friday that ISRO got a thumping support from Ahluwalia for the mission. The proposal has been sent to the Prime Minister's Office for final approval.
Russia would provide necessary equipment for the spacecraft to hover 275 kilometres above the earth's orbit before landing in either Arabian Sea or Bay of Bengal.
Prior to that, ISRO will send an unmanned spaceship in 2013 or 2014 as a preparatory spacecraft for the human mission. Two persons, yet to be selected for the mission, will undergo severe training for over a year.
“Their lifestyle and food habits will change,” said Radhakrishnan. They will have to live in conditions similar to space for more than a year and will get training on how to handle any exigency.
India joined the elite club of Russia, US, China and Japan in 2008 after its successful launch of the unmanned mission to moon, Chandrayan.