India Eyes Space Station in Earth Orbit

Dr. K Sivan (Credit: ISRO)

ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said this week the Indian space agency plans to develop a small space station that would give the nation’s Gaganyaan crewed spacecraft a facility to dock with in low Earth orbit.

Elucidating on the space station project, Mr Sivan said the mission will also be an extension of the Gaganyaan project. “We are planning to have a separate space station. We will not be a part of the ISS. Our space station is going to be very small. We will be launching a small module and that will be used for carrying out microgravity experiments,” he told the media.

“We have to sustain the Gaganyaan programme. So, subsequently, as a long-term plan, we are planning to have the space station in India. We are going to join the international community in manned missions to the moon, asteroids. We have a clear plan for the space programme,” the senior scientist said.

By planning a space station, Isro is “not thinking of space tourism”, he said. The Isro chairman said the proposal will be sent to the government for approval after the first Gaganyaan mission by 2022, and it is looking at a timeframe of five to seven years for the programme’s execution. He did not elaborate on the cost of the proposed Indian space station.

The timetable would have the 20 metric ton Indian space station in orbit between 2027 and 2029.