The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), with help from Russia, hopes to join the ranks of nations capable of independently launching astronauts into space around 2015 and has revealed the designs for its first orbiting crew capsule.
In its maiden manned mission, ISRO’s largely autonomous 3-ton capsule will orbit the Earth at 248 miles (400 km) in altitude for up to seven days with a two-person crew on board, ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair announced Jan. 3 at the Indian Science Congress held in Shillong. The capsule will be designed to carry three people, and a planned upgraded version will be equipped with a rendezvous and docking capability, he said.
ISRO spokesman S. Satish told Space News Jan. 10 that the program is estimated to cost about 100 billion rupees ($2 billion) over an eight-year period dating back to 2007. The manned mission was formally proposed to the government in 2006.
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