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.