Sunday, January 07, 2007
India to Have Human-Rated Spacecraft in 2014 and Perhaps ISS Access Post-2015
India's space agency plans to unveil the human spaceflight program the coming week that will propose a human spaceflight in 2014. The proposed plan may also call for the development of a two-person capsule that could be launched on the country’s GSLV launch vehicle.
The GSLV Mark III would provide more than enough payload capacity for manned spaceflight.
India is developing technology for a recoverable spacecraft that will be tested on a spacecraft scheduled for launch next week. The total cost of the manned orbital program, which has yet to be approved by the Indian government, is estimated to be approximately $2-3 billion.
India's space ambitions are being driven by an advancing economy and regional competition with the People's republic of China which may launch a three-man spacecraft later this year. Some have called the China-India competition the "New Cold War in Space."
The ISRO plan is said to also feature human missions to the Moon by 2020 which is also being discussed in China. Both China and India are planning to boost unmanned spacecraft to the moon within months. It has also been suggested that the United States might share some of its ownership rights in the International Space Station with India after 2015 as NASA's focus turns to human exploration of the moon.