Space dream gets major boost

Space dream gets major boost

Budgetary allocation for manned mission programme increased five-fold

Challenges ahead: Space Recovery Experiment is the first step towards realising a manned mission to the space.

Indeed, the Rs 230 crore to the department of space's human space flight programme, a substantial jump from Rs 42 crore allocated during 2008-09, comes as a ringing endorsement of the success of Chandrayan-I.

 It has reignited the nation's quest for a manned mission and pitted it against China's quest to lead space sciences in Asia.

In November last year, the Moon Impact Probe separated from the moon-orbiting Chandrayaan and impacted the lunar south pole in a controlled manner, making India only the fourth country in the short history of space mission to plant its flag on the moon.
The mission's success prompted the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to devise an elaborate manned mission programme that would cost Rs 12,000, which it presented to the union government.

New technology

With a view to putting two Indian astronauts into space on a seven-day scientific mission, the programme is also setting out to develop technologies that may used in several aspects of the mission indigenously.

According to ISRO, The astronauts will orbit the earth parked at 400 km (low earth orbit) in a capsule. It would be sent to the space on a heavy-lift GSLV(geo stationary launch vehicle).

Besides having life and environment control systems, the capsule will also contain emergency mission abort and emergency escape routes which can be executed during the first and second stages of the rocket 's launch. The Indian Space Research  Organisation is currently experimenting on the technology that would ensure the astronaut's safe return to earth.

Two years ago, the agency had successfully tested the re-entry technology during its first space recovery experiment.

Now though, the government is keen that it comes up with a fully fine-tuned technology.
It is critical to the manned mission, by allocating a sum of Rs 12 crore for the purpose.

Indepth studies

To further ensure the mission's triumph, the space agency has also initiated in-depth studies on technologies that would help them achieve better flight safety, reliability and propulsion system.

Its attempt to come up with a low-cost transport system for space travel has also received strong support from the finance minister, as Pranab Mukherjee has allocated an additional sum of Rs 100 crore for the purpose in the budget. Besides aiding ISRO's endeavour to develop the capsule, the union government has also bolstered its support to make the semi-cryogenic engine that would run on a mixture of aviation-grade kerosene and liquid oxygen fuel.

Rs 155 crore allocated

Allocation for the engine has been increased multi-fold from a meagre Rs 4 crore in last year's budget to Rs 155 crore this year.

This is the first instalment of Rs 1,798 crore the union government had sanctioned last December for developing an engine to ferry a capsule to the space and back.

Making the engine was one of the last projects the father of Indian space science Vikram Sarabhai had approved before his death in 1971.

DH News Service

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