Indian Cabinet Approves Budget for First Human Space Mission

Capsule descending under parachute (Credit: ISRO)

The Indian government has approved the expenditure of RS 10,000 crore ($1.43 billion) to launch the nation’s first human space mission by 2022, according to media reports.

Plans call for the a three-member crew to spend seven days in Earth orbit after being launched by a GSLV Mk. III booster. The flight, currently set for December 2021, will be preceded by two flight tests without a crew, officials say.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi set a deadline to launch the mission within four years in an Independence Day speech in August.

India would become the fourth nation after the Soviet Union, United States and China to launch astronauts into orbit.

  • AdmBenson

    I wonder when ESA and JAXA are going to feel the need for their own manned orbital capability in order to keep up with the Joneses. They might decide to shortcut the development time by buying either CST-100 or Dream Chaser from the US. FWIW, I think the Trump administration should support those sales and smooth the path for export licences and technology sharing.

  • Paul_Scutts

    Good news for HSF supporters around the globe, of which, I’m one. For convenience and speed, they will most likely go the Russian Soyuz type technology route, which I personally think would be a mistake. IMO, they should initially go the Apollo style capsule route, but, then eventually end up employing a Dream Chaser type lifting body.

  • delphinus100

    The profile of their capsule/aft service module looks more Dragon-ish than anything else:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hOot0L-q6M

  • Terry Stetler
  • Jeff Smith

    Congrats and good luck India!

    In addition to what you mentioned, for the OP, that little service module on Orion IS European.

    Truth is that EVERYONE is in the human spaceflight game – it started with Shuttle and goes to this day. Spacelab, Canadarm, etc. we’re all the cost-sharing contributions of ESA, CSA, etc. Everyone has SOME part of ISS, modules, arms, experiments, etc. You don’t have to be vertically integrated to be in the human spaceflight game.

  • Paul_Scutts

    Thanks for the info, delphinus100. Regards, Paul.

  • duheagle

    All true. But it’s still a big deal when the second most populous nation on Earth announces it intends to join numbers 1 and 3 in having indigenously developed capability to put its own nationals into space. Good luck to India over the next few years. It would be nice if India made some arrangement to have one or two crew on ISS on a regular basis too.

  • SamuelRoman13

    Fast and cheap. Can not build a liquid rocket engine fast? TGV Rockets say they can build a 100,000lb thrust class LOXK engine in one year. They already have a 35,000lb. I found out what happened to fast and cheap X-34(Left). It was partnership between NASA and Orbital. It did not use standard NASA. NASA wanted to change it to standard. It would cost Orbital more money, so that was it. Orbital said that was the the whole idea. Not to use standard. So bye. Partnerships with NASA are bad.

  • mlmontagne

    It’s going to be a while before Dream Chaser has a manned variant, but, the sooner the better I say. I don’t know if Boeing or SpaceX will be willing, or able, to sell a Starliner or a Crew Dragon. I think I read somewhere recently that Britain is finally putting some money into REL and the Skylon project.
    I wonder if India will seek to join the space station project and launch its own astronauts to the ISS?

  • mlmontagne

    I notice that, over on the right in the list of recent posts, there are articles about Turkey, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia all establishing new space agencies, and India opening up to commercial space activity.

  • Jeff Smith

    You’re definitely noticing the trend. Space is part of the zeitgeist and the trend is toward “more”.

    “More” of what?
    Answer: all of it.

  • Vladislaw

    I believe they would be more interested in launching to a Bigelow facility and not have to jump through any NASA hoops.

  • Aerospike

    I think both Europe (most of it) and Japan stopped over-emphasising doing things for national pride after WWII.
    As long as both can cooperate with the US and Russia to send up their Astronauts, they both won’t develop that capability anytime soon.

  • windbourne

    This is why US COngress should approve money to get multiple private space stations going. There is little doubt that we will soon see space agencies pop up in many more nations. They will need a place to go and learn how to be safe in space, followed by real destinations, such as the moon. By getting NASA to vet 2-3 space stations, they will be able to lease out to many others, while private space goes to the moon by say 2024.

  • windbourne

    esp, if we get private space going into the verticle space. Then nations can jump in and use private space for various parts. For example, if we can get multiple companies going with 100 tonnes to lunar surface, then ESA and others can focus on building multiple structures on the moon for living. And to be honest, living on the moon and then mars will be a LOT more work than where we are in space today.

  • windbourne

    ISS does not have space for others. That is why we need multiple private space stations up there. they will have no issue with supporting larger crews whose main purpose is to train for being in space.

  • windbourne

    don’t forget that UK, sweden, etc are also working towards manned space agencies.

  • windbourne

    In fact, I am hoping that Europe will focus a lot more on the lunar and martian surface living. We need lots of work on both.

  • windbourne

    only if bigelow is up there.

  • Jeff Smith

    I certainly want to see an exponential growth occur in space activity as well, but I have my doubts that we’ll see much cross-border commerce by governments. There is so much national pride and security tied up in space that we just don’t see local tax dollars going outside a country to purchase space services – those dollars get spent at home for jobs and local industry (commercial ventures like Intelsat, etc. are a different breed).

    Example: 5 counties/groups have serious human spaceflight programs, EACH ONE has a cargo vessel for space stations that launches on THEIR OWN rocket – China, Russia, US, ESA, Japan.

    India is building their own capability. Golden Spide didn’t do so well. I can see breaking up a large project among many (ISS, Gateway), but I won’t be surprised if ESA and JAXA modules for Gateway launch on Ariana 6 and H3 respectively…

  • mlmontagne

    Fair enough. I hope we have multiple, assorted Bigelow facilities in orbit in a very few years, research labs, factories, hotels, you name it.

  • Jeff Smith

    I certainly hope India joins ISS a some level that included a docking of Gagayaan. It would be a great win for both India and the entire ISS project “hey look, we can invite other counties to join as they progress in space capabilities and they can even fly up to our universal space station.” Good optics, good milestone, goodness all around.

  • Jeff Smith

    That seems to be the problem. Any day now, someone might qualify to win America’s Space Prize. Too bad it will be 9+ years too late!

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/America's_Space_Prize

  • Vladislaw

    2021 is still listed on the website for the first launch .. .commercial passenger services should be operational by then also …

  • duheagle

    I think ISS is actually capable of hosting a larger crew than has been the norm for some years. Among the justifications for the Commercial Crew program, for example, was being able to increase the routine ISS staffing level from 6 to 7 so as to double the number of crew hours available for research. I haven’t been able to find any declared upper crew limit anent ISS’s life support capabilities, but unless these were been built a lot more marginally than is typical for manned space systems, the ISS can probably support a total crew max of 8 or more, of which two could be Indian.

    It would be good to have Indians on ISS as a regular thing in order to make India a likely additional “plank owner” for a follow-on LEO manned station established as ISS nears its end-of-life. This could be either an Indian-owned or leased facility or one India leases and occupies in partnership with other spacefaring entities such as the U.S., Japan and the ESA.

  • windbourne

    At this time, NASA needs to start up these companies and get a habitat attached to ISS, and then outfitted, and vetted. I used to think that these company would need nasa ppl to lease space at first, but I am not so certain of that.

  • windbourne

    Ok,
    So, you think that UAE, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, UK, Phillipines, Turkey will build rockets and full on HSF?
    I do not think so.
    India will want to fly to one of these space stations, dock, etc, and it makes sense. In fact, it would be good to spin off BEAM at some time, with a docking port added to the front for testing with.
    I am guessing that they all want to go to the moon, as quickly as possible. Even if that means spending money and time in space stations.

  • Jeff Smith

    You list a number of smaller countries, clearly they can’t do it alone. Europeans band together through ESA, and other smaller groups tend to target either local telecom or tag along with larger countries. The best a Boeing or SpaceX can hope for is that NASA will use them when they gift/exchange a seat on their craft to an astronaut or whatever. Governments like to deal with local companies or other governments, not foreign companies. (If the country has a local remote sensing or telecom corporation, that can be a different story clearly.)

  • Robert Sutton

    Son of Hermes?

  • Robert Sutton

    ISS record the bakers dozen

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