India`s human space flight mission gathering momentum
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Last Updated: Thursday, August 13, 2009, 12:06
Bangalore: India has begun the process of building a training centre for astronauts, designing a new launch pad and modifying the rockets as preparations for its ambitious manned flight to space gathers momentum.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has drawn up an outline for the training centre, which would come up near the Bengaluru International Airport at Devanahally on the city outskirts, ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair said here.

Forty acres are already in the possession of the Bangalore-headquartered ISRO, which has approached the state government for an additional 100 acres for the centre.

Nair expects investment for the training centre to be in the range of Rs 600 crore to Rs 700 crore.

"We have to again establish the launch pad for the crew with reception and servicing facilities and launcher itself has to be modified to handle the humans. So, these modifications and new launch pad is being designed. So, that will be taken up for implementation," he said.

Nair said facilities to work on technologies associated with the capsule (autonomous orbital vehicle) for the ambitious mission would come up at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.

The Department of Space has carried out a detailed study on the feasibility of undertaking the indigenous mission, expected to take place in 2015-16 timeframe, with an aim to build and demonstrate the capability for carrying humans to low earth orbit and their return to earth.

The programme envisages development of a fully autonomous orbital vehicle carrying two or three crew members to 400 KM low earth orbit and their safe return.

Nair said ISRO is exploring the possibility of sending selected Indian astronauts for the mission to Russia for flying in launch vehicles developed by that country before New Delhi's estimated Rs 12,000 crore venture "so that our astronauts' training can be accelerated."

"We are discussing with them (Russia). If they agree on such a proposal, we will pursue that."

Nair said the assessment of critical technologies required for the mission has been fully completed.

ISRO has started pre-project studies in regard to life support system, the suit required for astronauts and radiation shield, among others.

"The government is really keen and they have funded the pre-project activity. This year, roughly Rs 250 crore has been allotted for this purpose. So, it (the human space flight programme) has got a good head-start," he said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, August 13, 2009, 12:06

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