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Chandrayaan-2 mission in mid-April; targeting manned mission to space in 2021: ISRO

Chandrayaan-2, India's second mission to the Moon, is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission. Photograph:( PTI )

WION Web Team Bengaluru, Karnataka, India Jan 11, 2019, 12.28 PM (IST)

Indian space research organisation (ISRO) chairman K Sivan said the space agency will launch the Chandrayaan-2 mission in mid-April while adding that it has targeted two unmanned missions to space in December 2020 and July 2021.

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Addressing the media at Bengaluru, the ISRO chief said: "Preparations for Gaganyaan mission are underway. It has been a major turning point for ISRO." The ISRO chief informed that the space agency carried out 17 missions last year with seven being launch missions.

"The target for two unmanned missions to space is December 2020 and July 2021. The target for a manned mission to space is December 2021," Sivan said.

"In 2018, ISRO launched the heaviest satellite into space," he said, adding,"Rs 10,000 crore approved for has been approved for Gaganyan."

"The inital training for Gaganyaan will be done in India and advanced training maybe in Russia. Women astronauts will be there on the team. That's our aim," the ISRO chief said.

Sivan said the agency had created a science centre in Jammu and Kashmir while informing that human space programme will be a turning point for the space organization.

"We will set up six incubation and research centres across the country. We will bring the Indian students to ISRO. Why do the Indian students need to go to NASA?"

The objective of the Chandrayaan-2 mission is to carry a three-member crew to low Earth orbit and return them safely to a predefined destination on Earth. PM Modi had on Independence Day announced that the mission would be undertaken by 2022.

The Chandrayaan-2 consists of a lunar orbiter, lander and rover developed by ISRO. The mission was delayed after Russia's Roscosmos failed to provide the lander, later the Russian space agency pulled out of the project leading the space body to develop it indigenously. 

This year is the birth centenary of the founding father of Indian Space programme, Vikram A Sarabhai, and year-long celebrations, consisting of a host of national and international events would commence August 12, 2019.

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Sivan said the agency had created a science centre in Jammu and Kashmir while informing that human space programme will be a turning point for the space organization.