India’s Lined-Up Space Missions; Plans Development Of Indian-Owned Space Station

India Space Missions and Space Station Development PlanPhoto from: Kishore D R | Flicker | CC by 2013

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) chief, Dr. Kailasavadivoo Sivan, announced this Thursday that India plans to create its very own space station by 2030. This endeavor will be executed by Indians only, and it is an extension of India’s mission, Gaganyaan.

During the press conference, Sivan stated that “we have to sustain the Gaganyaan [program] after the launch of [the] human space mission. In this context, India is planning to have its space station.”

If this will be successful, India’s 20-tonne station will be the second space station in history. Currently, there’s only one fully working space station in existence, and that’s the International Space Station.

The International Space Station was the massive human-made structure in low Earth orbit launched in 1998. Meanwhile, it’s first inhabitants arrived last November 2000. It was built and used by leading space research nations such as the United States, Japan, Canada, Russia, and some countries from Europe, to conduct experiments.

The purpose of India’s space station

Sivan announced that the space station will be placed in an orbit of 400 kilometers above Earth, and will be primarily used to conduct scientific studies and “microgravity experiments.” The initial plan is to provide shelter for the astronauts on their estimated stay of 15-20 days in space.

India will take a total of five to seven years to complete its space station. And regarding its total cost to build the space infrastructure, Sivan was silent. However, further details about the Indian Space Station are yet to be revealed to the public.

Gaganyaan, the Human Mission

Gaganyaan’s primary goal is to send Indians to space by December 2021, following the two unmanned missions in December 2020 and July 2021.

Gaganyaan means “space vehicle” in Sanskrit. The Indian government has approved Rs 10,000 crores ($1.5billion) for this project.

The Gaganyan national advisory council is composed of members from various institutions and industries that will guide and supervise the mission. It will bring three astronauts into space, for seven days in the lower earth orbit of 120-400 km.

The selection process has begun and scheduled to be finished in the next six months. Afterward, the chosen trio will undergo intensive training for almost two years at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM). This will be followed by advanced training, which will most likely be conducted in Russia.

“We will not tie-up with the international space station. It will be Indian and will be manned by Indians,” Sivan stated.

Sivan mentioned that ISRO  also has ambitions to ” join the international effort to send humans to the moon and Mars and colonize the moon.”

The ISRO chief mentioned India’s other space projects such as the Chandrayaan-2 (India’s second mission to the moon), Aditya-L1 (Solar mission), and the Venus mission.

Currently, ISRO’s focus is on Chandrayaan-2, which will launch this July 15. ISRO will try to land its rover near the Moon’s the South Pole (or the Dark side of the moon) for the first time on September 6.

Chandrayaan means moon vehicle in Sanskrit. Chandrayaan-2 is the younger and more improved version of its older sibling Chandrayaan-1, which took off ten years ago. If this mission is successful, India will be the fourth country to land on the moon, following the US, Russia, and China.

Aditya will be launched by mid-2020. Its primary mission is to study the sun’s corona and its impact on climatic changes. The mission to Venus will be launched by mid-2023. Its main goal is to study the atmospheric property, surface topography, and atmosphere.

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