India Moving Toward Human Spaceflight Program

Escape tower fires (Credit: ISRO)
Last week’s test of a crew escape system signals a renewed push by ISRO for an indigenous human spaceflight program, Business Standard reports.

Days after it successfully carried out a flight test for a new system, meant for saving lives of astronauts in an exigency, ISRO today said it would approve in a month’s time an ‘internal document’ on developing crucial technologies under its Human Spaceflight Programme.

“No human spaceflight programme has been approved in India yet. We had prepared the document to develop crucial technologies in 2004.

Now we are in the process of revising it. In a month’s time, we will approve our internal document,” ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan told reporters after the 11th annual Katre Memorial Lecture here…

Sivan said the document, which was being worked on for over a decade, is being revised for review and interactions with stakeholders, including Indian Air Force and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

  • Ignacio Rockwill

    I wonder if India asked US companies to help bootstrap its human space program. I get that “we did the space program ourselves” is a source of national pride for many (all?) countries, but if India is really interested in getting its own astronauts living and working in space, I think the faster route would be to source a station from Bigelow and rides from SpaceX.

    I forget where the Bigelow modules come in at payload…do they need a FH to launch?

  • windbourne

    which modules?
    FH can do the mass, but will have issues with the volume.
    SX could re-design the hammerhead to hold a BA-330.

    Atlas and Delta have issues with both volume and mass.

  • Ignacio Rockwill

    Yeah, I guess technically Bigelow doesn’t have *any* modules ready to go at the moment. Guess an a la carte space program are still a ways off.

  • Zed_WEASEL

    AFAIK Bigelow is currently baselining the Atlas V 552 with largest RUAG payload fairing available for the BA-330.

  • Terry Rawnsley

    India is attempting to catch up to their rival, China and show the world that they are a legitimate “first world” player in space. You don’t get to claim that status when you are buying rides from someone else. They could possibly be in the market for something made by Bigelow at some point in the future but I love their home-grown approach. The more countries launching their own people and stuff, the better. Pity that budget constraints draw out the process for so long. Go India! I’d love to see Japan develop a manned program of their own.

  • redneck

    That process doesn’t have to be so long or budget constrained. It is more a matter of focus and efficiency. Picture a new SpaceX in another country that draws on all the historical knowledge of many countries for that focus and efficiency. A handful of effective leaders with an educated and motivated work force could move fast by using that which has worked elsewhere and avoiding that which hasn’t.

    On a national scale, it’s a small fraction of the budget. Consider that Mexico of today has a GNP higher than the USA did during the Apollo years.

  • Terry Rawnsley

    India has plenty of problems that are larger and more pressing than human spaceflight and they are budgeting accordingly. A new company LIKE SpaceX arising in another country would be welcome. However, at this point, ISRO is well on its way and would beat a new, private, entrant into space. My point is that for India’s national needs and national pride, they need to launch on their own rockets. Maybe at some point in the future they may decide to integrate vehicles from SpaceX and Blue into their inventory but by that time India will be an accepted and respected member of the human spaceflight club. Of course, whichever vehicle takes them there, they will still be faced with the question of what they are going to do there.

  • envy

    Most countries don’t have access to the historical knowledge or the technological capability (or the boatloads of funding) available to US companies though NASA and the Department of Defense.

    And private companies outside the US have even greater political, economic, and technical challenges than countries do.

  • envy

    Expendable F9 can lift any mass that Atlas can, but SpaceX isn’t offering it for sale AFAIK.

  • redneck

    It wouldn’t be impossible for a sufficiently exciting project to attract expats from many countries that do have the history. And the boatloads of funding is both a tiny fraction of the GNP of many countries, and not necessarily required. The massive national funding all too often comes with strings built like shackles.

  • windbourne

    reusable f9 outdoes atlas WRT mass.
    But the issue is VOLUME, not mass.
    Atlas has a bigger hammerhead.