New Delhi: ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair has said the organisation is planning its first manned flight around 2015. "There would be two men in a manned capsule on a seven-day mission. It will be launched from Sriharikota," he said. Nair was speaking to a TV news channel after revealing the failure of the star sensor aboard the lunar probe Chandrayaan-I.
He also said the organisation was not contemplating sending a man to the moon. "At the moment we don't have such plan," Nair said. But he strongly favoured contemplating such a mission, pointing out that both the US and China had declared they would like to have their men on the lunar surface by 2020.
"I do not know whether we can afford to lag behind in that," the ISRO chairman said.
"Superiority of a nation depends on technology. Space is where the highest level of technology is being demonstrated. Today, I can say we are on par with developed nations as far as technology is concerned," Nair said.
Star sensor failure
Meanwhile, it is likely that the failure of the star sensor may have been a double failure – with the first one having occurred ''much earlier.'' According to ISRO officials, the lunar probe had two star sensors onboard, with one acting as a back-up.
The sensor determines the orientation, or ''altitude'' of the spacecraft while in orbit.