As a prelude to a manned moon mission,the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is working towards a maiden manned Indian space mission vehicle that can carry three astronauts for seven days in a near earth orbit,ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair said at an international aerospace conference here on Monday.
The manned space mission is expected by the year 2015. If all goes well it will be followed by a moon mission five to six years later, Nair said.
The maiden manned space flight will be equipped with modules for emergency and service requirement,the ISRO chairman said. With the US and Japan planning new manned moon missions by 2020 we cannot be far behind, he said. The GSLV Mk II rocket launch vehicle will be used to launch the manned mission,he said.
ISROs GSLV-Mk III,which will be able to carry satellites of heavy tonnage,is slated for a maiden flight at the end of 2010 and is expected to bring down the launch cost by half,Nair said.
Currently ISRO is dependent on Arianespace in Europe for the launch of its heavy class of satellites. Even after the GSLV development progresses,ISRO will be in collaboration with Arianespace to market the capabilities of its launch vehicle PSLV.