NEW DELHI: Having entered the Mars orbit in its first attempt and given the world evidence of water on the moon, India on Thursday announced plans to set up its own space station, marking its biggest leap yet in space exploration.
The 360-tonne International Space Station (ISS) circling the earth 400km above its surface is the only space station with a human crew. A multinational collaboration of Europe, the US, Russia, Japan and Canada, it has six astronauts on board at anytime of the year.
“Our space station is going to be separate and much smaller. We will launch it as a small module and that module will be used to carry small micro-gravity experiments. We are preparing the proposal to submit to the government after the successful completion of Gaganyaan in 2022,” said K. Sivan, chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro).
The Indian space station will be placed in the low earth orbit, also at 400km above the earth’s surface. The project is at a nascent stage and will be executed after 5-7 years. Costs have yet not been estimated yet.
Scientists highlighted that a separate space station would help the space agency to sustain the human space flight missions in future and it will be an extension of India’s first human space flight mission in space in 2022.
“There is a very tight schedule ahead of us. The first unmanned space mission under Gaganyaan has to be undertaken in December 2020. So many research laboratories, educational institutions, specialised institutes, the Defence Research and Development Organisation and industries are involved,” he said.