Bangalore: India will undertake 70 space missions over the next five years of the 11th Plan period (1 April 2007-31 March 2012) according to chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, G Madhavan Nair. The plans have been submitted by ISRO as part of an overall report that includes a plan for a manned mission by 2014-15.
The increase in the number of missions to 70 compares to about 26 missions undertaken during the 10th Plan period, Nair told reporters here on the sidelines of a function.
"We have proposed something like 70 missions totally compared to about 26 missions in the tenth plan period," Nair said, adding that the proposed missions would include a "good mix" of both INSAT class satellites and remote sensing ones.
According to Nair, the space missions would address requirements in the areas of communication transponders as well as work in the fields of microwave remote sensing, hyper spectral and other new technologies of the future.
"Future developments will be towards the manned space mission and reusable satellites and Ka-band satellites," he added.
''The proposed missions will be a combination of satellite launches with transponders for enhancing communications, education, health, remote sensing, observatory and exploratory. In addition to lunar and manned missions, we will undertake projects for re-entry vehicles and recovery capsules,'' Nair noted.
The space budget for the 11th Plan is about Rs4,072 crore, which is an increase of 25 per cent over the previous plan allocation.''
Meanwhile, the Space Commission, headed by prime minister Manmohan Singh, will meet next week or so to review the report and take a decision. ''We plan to launch a manned mission in the next seven-eight years,'' Nair said.
''The report also focuses on collaborating with participating agencies in the public and private sectors and creating dedicated teams for coordinating the mission,'' Nair said.
On the Russian offer to train an Indian cosmonaut for the manned mission, Nair said the space agency would work out details only after the government clears the project.
''Decision on whom to short-list, select and train will be taken up after the initial (ground) work. We are trying to see whether we can avail similar services of other space agencies too. Though Russian Federal Space Agency has come forward (as before) to train, we can respond only after the mission is cleared and we get going,'' Nair pointed out.
In April 1984, India's first cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma went into space on board the Soyuz T-11 shuttle under the then Soviet Intercosmos programme.
Subsequently, two women astronauts, Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams, both of Indian origin made trips into space onboard the US space shuttles - Columbia and Discovery. Kalpana Chawla perished in an unfortunate accident in February 2003 on the way back from her second mission in space.
See: ISRO to launch remote sensing satellite this month