India is planning to hoist the tricolour on the moon by 2020, a space agency official said in Shillong on Sunday, adding that the country's first manned flight into space was also on cards by 2015.
K Radhakrishnan, member of the Space Commission and director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), said plans were afoot to send a two-member crew into space and orbit around 200 km away from the earth by 2015.
He was speaking at the 96th Indian Science Congress in Shillong.
"This would be the first time that an Indian would travel to space on an Indian spacecraft, which ISRO hopes to build with its own technology," Radhakrishnan said.
Rakesh Sharma was the first Indian to travel in space onboard a Soviet spacecraft in 1984. Two people of Indian origin, Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams, have been to space onboard US spacecrafts.
"ISRO is in the process of developing sophisticated versions of the PSLV launch vehicles," he said.
Scientists said the proposal to send a manned spacecraft was sent after India successfully launched the lunar mission Chandrayaan-I last year.
ISRO also plans a Mars mission before 2020.
"All these plans are at a conceptual stage. Everyone is happy with the successful launch of Chandrayaan and now there are preparations for Mission Chandrayaan-II after the government approval," Radhakrishnan said.
While Chandrayaan-I was mostly a remote-sensing spacecraft scanning the lunar surface for minerals and water, Chandrayaan-II will be a land-rover with capabilities to move on the moon's surface.