India aims to launch its own space station in the near future, as this will help the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to send more humans to space.
This was announced by Isro chairman K. Sivan here on Thursday. He went on to add that India will not join the International Space Station (ISS).
After Chandrayaan’s Mission 2, also known as Moon Mission 2, Isro will launch another mission to the Sun by launching Aditya-L1 in the first half of 2020, he told reporters. Another interplanetary mission to Venus will be launched in the next two to three years, said Mr Sivan, who is also secretary, department of space.
Elucidating on the space station project, Mr Sivan said the mission will also be an extension of the Gaganyaan project. “We are planning to have a separate space station. We will not be a part of the ISS. Our space station is going to be very small. We will be launching a small module and that will be used for carrying out microgravity experiments,” he told the media.
“We have to sustain the Gaganyaan programme. So, subsequently, as a long-term plan, we are planning to have the space station in India. We are going to join the international community in manned missions to the moon, asteroids. We have a clear plan
for the space programme,” the senior scientist said.
The weight of the space station is likely to be 20 tonnes.
By planning a space station, Isro is “not thinking of space tourism”, he said. The Isro chairman said the proposal will be sent to the government for approval after the first Gaganyaan mission by 2022, and it is looking at a timeframe of five to seven years for the programme’s execution. He did not elaborate on the cost of the proposed Indian space station.
A space station is a spacecraft capable of supporting crew members, designed to remain in space for an extended period of time and for other spacecraft to dock. Currently, there is only one fully functional space station in the Earth’s lower orbit, the International Space Station (ISS), and astronauts conduct different experiments in it.
The first component of the ISS was launched into orbit in 1998, and the first long-term residents of the ISS arrived in November 2000.