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We will send a spacecraft to Mars in 2013 - Madhavan Nair

After the successful launch of the Chandrayaan-I mission to Moon, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is working on a slew of missions to conquer new frontiers of space, including landing a rover on the Moon in 2012, sending a spacecraft to Mars in 2013 and a manned space mission in 2015.

ISRO Chairman Madhavan Nair said on Wednesday that the mission to Mars, now at a conceptual stage, would be finalised next year. The current version of the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle would be used to launch the spacecraft. The mission would be similar to Chandrayaan-I.

The spacecraft would be first placed in the Earth’s orbit and then raised to the Martian orbit.’Chandrayaan-II ready’.

Nair was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to facilitate the team behind the Chandrayaan-I mission.

He said the design for the sequel, Chandrayaan-II, was ready and the plan was to launch it by 2012. It would entail the landing of a rover on the Moon. The rover would be made in collaboration with Russia.

On the manned mission to space, Nair said the plan was to send two astronauts into space on a seven-day mission on an indigenously developed rocket in 2015. The government had sanctioned Rs. 95 crore to study all aspects of the mission.

ISRO, he said, was setting up an astronaut training centre in Bangalore. A batch of 200 would be initially selected and trained. Of them, four would be shortlisted. While two will go on the mission, the other two will remain as backup. The spacecraft would be placed in a low Earth orbit and splash in the Indian Ocean after completion of the mission.

Last year, ISRO conducted a Space Recovery Experiment, under which it sent a capsule into space. The capsule was recovered successfully after being in orbit for 22 days. Before the maiden indigenous manned mission to space, ISRO planned to send an Indian astronaut aboard a Russian spacecraft in 2013.

Courtesy: The Hindu

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