Keeping the more expensive manned lunar missions in its radar, the country's top space agency is planning to send two Indians to the Moon by 2015 in a purely indigenous effort.
And Indian Space Research Organisation's(ISRO) ambitious plans does not end there for it has just started technical capability as well as mission planning for a Mars mission saying the red planet was the "next natural destination" for the space agency.
After the spectacular success of the country's maiden unmanned moon mission Chandrayaan-I, ISRO said today it would gear up for the complex and challenging task of the manned mission which is awaiting government's approval. The manned mission project is estimated to cost Rs 120 billion (about 2.4 billion dollars).
"Now we have a little bit of breathing time (after today's launch)... We are looking how we can design a capsule, which can carry two(Indian) astronauts onboard a GSLV rocket,"
ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair said at a post-launch press meet in Sriharikota.
"This is a very complex and challenging task... First of all to conceive a module, which can predict the condition of human life in space, is a big challenge is terms of technology and realisation," he said. The manned mission will be an indigenous initiative but foreign agencies are welcome to cooperate, he said.
Besides, selecting the astronauts and training them for the space flight and improving the reliability of the launching system were also complex issues, he said.
"After considering all these, we have prepared a project report and this had been cleared by the Space Commission and is awaiting the government approval. Based on this, we will have the first man mission from Indian soil before 2015," a beaming Nair said.