Human space flight is the next logical step for India: K. Radhakrishnan

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is exploring low-cost access to space and has begun taking various measures, ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan has said.

He was delivering the inaugural lecture under the Popular Lecture Series organised by the Indian Institute of Science Alumni Association Science Forum here on Saturday.

Dr. Radhakrishnan said that by 2012, low-cost access to space would be made possible by ISRO's GSLV Mk3 with indigenous cryogenic technology. “Right now, the cost per kg is $20,000. With GSLV Mk3, the cost can be reduced by half,” he added.

India had been applauded for its shoestring budget for space programmes, which was three per cent of NASA's budget, 12 per cent of Europe and one-third of China's, he said. He stressed the need to develop innovative technologies for low-cost access to space. Dr. Radhakrishnan said that the human space flight was the next logical step for India. “We have a human space flight programme and ISRO is going to put two Indians in an orbit around the Earth,” he said.

Studies on

“There is a pre-project which is going on to study some critical technologies. A project report regarding the same has been sent to the government for approval.”

The manned mission programme envisaged development of a fully autonomous orbital vehicle carrying two or three crewmembers to over 300 km in the Earth's orbit. Dr. Radhakrishnan said that ISRO was getting ready to launch GSLV-D3 with indigenous cryogenic technology this month. “Preparations are on. The final reviews are also taking place.”