India’s human space flight programme got a major boost as the Union Budget on Friday proposed a significant allocation to it and also sought increase in funds for setting up an indigenous global positioning system.
The budget, presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the Lok Sabha, has allocated Rs 150 crore for the human spaceflight programme under which the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to develop a space vehicle to put a two-member crew in space and get them back safely.
The government has already approved pre-project research and development activities in this regard.
The plan allocation for ISRO has been pegged at Rs 5,000 crore as against the revised budgetary estimates of Rs 3,172 crore last year.
The budget has proposed Rs 100 crore for Chandrayaan. Space scientists are planning to land two robotic rovers on the moon to carry out tests on the lunar surface.
The allocation for the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS), on the lines of US’ Global Positioning System (GPS), was pegged at Rs 262.10 crore against the revised estimates of Rs 220 crore last year.
ISRO plans to have a constellation of seven satellites which are expected to provide position accuracies similar to GPS in a region in and around the country. The first satellite is targeted for launch in 2011.