The success of Chandrayaan-I has sent ISRO scientists into orbit, giving them confidence that they will be able to put a man on the moon by 2020. Speaking separately in Raipur (Chhatisgarh) and Salem (Tamil Nadu), Mahadevan Nair, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, and M Annadurai, project director for Chandrayaan-I, have both affirmed that a manned moon mission is very much on the cards.
Annadurai told the press on Sunday that Chandrayaan-II would be launched in a couple of years, followed by Chandrayaan-III, which will be manned. Several countries have approached India to set up a common lunar research centre, he added.
Chandrayaan-II is likely to be launched by the end of 2009 or early 2010. It will include a wheeled rover capable of picking up soil or rock samples for on site chemical analysis, which the orbiting vehicle will transmit to earth. The launch vehicle would be the GSLV (global satellite launch vehicle).
This will be followed by the manned mission, Chandrayaan-III.