India’s successful maiden lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 has given a big boost to the ambitious plan of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to undertake a manned flight by 2015.
The latest Annual Report of the Indian Space Department says that India’s manned flight programme envisages the development of a fully autonomous orbital vehicle capable of carrying the crew members.
The Indian manned capsule which is expected to weigh up to 4 tonnes is being planned to be launched by means of the heavy lift-off GSLV (MK-III) vehicle now.
It is being envisaged that an advanced astronaut training facility will be set up by ISRO in collaboration with the Bangalore-based Institute of Aviation Medicine (IAM) for the training of astronauts. The training centre will cover 100 acres will be set up on the outskirts of Bangalore.
The follwing main facilities would form the part of this training centre are a radiation simulation chamber to help astronauts handle radiation from the sun; a centrifuge to enable manoeuvers in space, a zero gravity simulator as well as hardware designed to train astronauts fly their spaceship.
The final approval of this Rs 12, 0000-million manned flight programme is awaited from the Union Government.
A third launch pad will be developed to have the facilities such as crew escape module. Meanwhile, it has been planned that two Indians will fly onboard a Russian spaceship to the International Space Station (ISS) before the indian manned mission. For this, India and Russia have already set up a joint working team to study the finer details of training and flying Indian astronauts.
It is envisaged that the selected astronaut candidates will be trained in the Russian Star City and this exercise will help India gain an insight into the intricacies of astronaut training.
ISRO believes that India’s manned space flight is a crucial step towards the future plans to ISRO to send a man to moon.