India aims to send astronauts into space by 2022, Modi says

India will launch its first manned space mission by 2022

During an address marking the anniversary of independence from British rule in 1947, Mr Modi, the prime minister, vowed that India's ambitious space programme would be accelerated.

"In space technology, we have dreamt something, our scientists have dreamt something. And I am happy to announce that by 2022, the 75th Independence year, we are planning a manned space mission", Modi said in his Independence Day speech from the Red Fort.

Former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair has advocated India seek American or Russian support for astronaut training and space-environment simulation facilities to carry out the manned mission within the 2022 time frame. We are already on the job and we have completed many technologies like crew module & escape systems.

The Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) navigation satellite IRNSS-1I, on board the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C41), lifts off at the Satish Dawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in the state of Andhra Pradesh on April 12, 2018.

Meanwhile, former ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan, under whose leadership the Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) was launched in 2013, termed the announcement of the Gaganyaan mission a "turning point" for ISRO.

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Reacting to the prime minister's call, ISRO Chairman K Sivan said technologies that would help in sending an Indian astronaut to space - like the human crew module and the environment control and life support system - have already been developed.

On how ISRO is going to select the astronaut for the mission, he said, "We need to discuss". "The actual manned flight of the space capsule will be preceded by two unmanned flights", Sivan said.

Indian-born Kalpana Chawla and Indian-origin Sunita Williams are among the known names to have gone to space. Chawla was one of the seven crew members who had died in the explosion of the Space Shuttle Columbia, during its re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere in 2003.

The GSLV MK III is the most powerful rocket ever made in the country; it was first launched in June 2017 to deliver a massive 3,135 kg GSAT-19 satellite into orbit, to deliver internet access. PM Modi added that an Indian will be sent in space via an indigenous spacecraft.

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