India's ambitious plan to launch manned space missions received a boost on Friday with the government sanctioning Rs 100 crore for the initiative.
The Union Budget, presented in Parliament by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, has earmarked Rs 100 crore for Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) manned mission initiatives as it hiked the allocation for the Department of Space (DoS) by nearly 24 per cent.
The DoS has been allocated Rs 4,074 crore for 2008-09, a Rs 784 crore hike over the Rs 3,290 crore allocation last fiscal.
Besides the manned space mission, Chidambaram also set aside Rs 10 crore for the Space Recovery Capsule Experiment-2, which is expected to be launched in the near future.
ISRO has been putting together a project proposal for undertaking a human space flight, which it plans to undertake in the next decade.
ISRO scientists believe the total cost for such a mission could be in the range of Rs 10,000 crore for technology development and designing facilities for astronauts.
A major chunk of the budgetary allocation was for the Indian Institute for Space Technology, taking shape near Thiruvananthapuram. The istitute was inaugurated last year and has been functioning from the premises of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre there.
The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System got a massive hike from Rs 94 crore last year to Rs 270 crore in the next fiscal. ISRO will launch seven satellites to build the system which is touted as the Indian version of the Global Positioning System (GPS) run by the US.