“A detailed proposal for the Rs 12,000 crore-project has been submitted to the government,” ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair said at the 96th session of the Indian Science Congress here.
Sharing some details about the maiden manned space flight with scientists, Nair said the ISRO envisaged designing two space modules — for carrying two and three astronauts respectively into space.
In the first manned mission, two Indian astronauts will be sent for a seven-day stay in a low earth orbit — anywhere between 160 km to 2000 km — above the earth’s surface using a GSLV rocket.
The space agency achieved initial success in mastering the re-entry technology to bring back the astronauts successfully to earth. “The first two Indian astronauts in ISRO-manned mission will be adequately trained engineers,” an ISRO official told Deccan Herald.
The first astronaut training centre will come up adjacent to an upcoming ISRP guest house near the new airport in Bangalore for which 40 acres of land has already been handed over to the ISRO. After felicitating the Chandrayaan-1 team, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa had promised a 100 acre plot for a larger training centre. But the government was yet to move the process formally, said the official.
The space capsule will have life control and environment control systems. It will be equipped with emergency mission abort and emergency escape that can be done at the first stage and second stage of the rocket.
The ISRO is gearing up for two more scientific missions — the Astrosat for high-energy astronomy research and Megha-Tropiques for studying tropical weather. Both satellites will be launched between 2009 and 2010. The space agency has also tasted success in “stationary plasma thruster-based electric propulsion systems”, which can pave the way for futuristic nuclear propulsion technology for venturing out into the outer solar system.