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India approves budget for first manned space mission in 2022

الهند تعلن أولى رحلاتها المأهولة إلى الفضاء

The Indian government has announced it is allocating 100 billion rupees ($1.43bn) for its first manned space mission, set to be launched by 2022.

“Today, the Cabinet has given the go-ahead to the Indian Human Space Flight Initiative,” Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters in New Delhi on Friday.

“We will send a three-member crew for seven days into space. We are aiming to complete the pilot initiative within 40 months from now,” he added.

India is aiming to expand the country’s influence in the competitive $300bn global space industry.

An unmanned test launch of the project is likely scheduled for December 2020.

The Gaganyaan project – Hindi for “spacecraft” – is part of the government’s ambition to make India a global low-cost provider of services in space.

In 2014, India put a satellite into orbit around Mars, becoming the fourth nation to do so. India’s Mars Mission cost less than the budget of the Hollywood space blockbuster “Gravity”. In November this year, India fired a rocket carrying 31 satellites into space, many on behalf of foreign governments.

The Indian manned mission, announced in August this year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will aim to send a three-member crew to space for seven days. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has said it hopes to deploy its biggest rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III to transport the three Indians into space.

Deterrence measure
For the manned mission, ISRO has already inked collaboration agreements with Russia’s Roscosmos and France’s CNES space agencies.

“A manned space mission is a natural progression in a country’s space journey. Commercial market space conservation is an important factor for India to develop its space capabilities. But over the last decade or so, India has attempted to make changes to its space policy,” Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, the head of the Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation, told Al Jazeera.

“India has its own interests in space, beyond economics and development. Increasingly, there are military and security-related aspects driving India’s space programme. For instance, China’s anti-satellite test in 2007 had given rise to new debate within India as to how it should develop its own deterrence measures,” she added.

India’s neighbour China first sent humans to space in 2003.

New Delhi’s space programme was launched in the early 1960s but it remains a small player in the global space industry.

Both China and India have dedicated billions of dollars to their space programmes, but their budgets are still far below that of the United States, which is estimated at $40bn.

With their ambitious space exploration and Mars missions, China and India have become members of a select club of space-faring nations along with the US, Russia, France and Japan.

Despite its success, many have questioned the project’s steep price tag, which they say is too high for a country that still has to deal with widespread hunger and poverty.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera

أعلنت الحكومة الهندية الجمعة أنها سترسل طاقما من ثلاثة رواد فضاء إلى مدار الأرض لمدة تصل إلى أسبوع عندما تطلق أول مهمة فضائية مأهولة في 2022.

ووافق وزراء الهند على تخصيص مبلغ 1.4 مليار دولار لتوفير التقنية والبنية التحتية اللازمة للبرنامج، وفقا لبيان الحكومة.

وسيجعل هذا المبلغ من برنامج الهند الفضائي أحد أرخص برامج الفضاء المأهولة، وسيُصعِّد من منافستها الفضائية مع الصين. لكن البيان قال إن الهند تأمل بأن تصبح جزءا من مشاريع الفضاء “العالمية”.

وستصبح الهند رابع دولة بعد روسيا والولايات المتحدة والصين التي ترسل مهمات مأهولة إلى الفضاء.

ووافق الوزراء على تمويل إطلاق مركبة هندية الصنع إلى “مدار الأرض السفلي” لمدة تتراوح من دورة مدارية واحدة إلى سبعة أيام كحد أقصى، وفقا للبيان.

وكان رئيس الوزراء الهندي ناريندرا مودي أعلن في أغسطس أن الهند ستطلق رحلة فضائية مأهولة بحلول عام 2022 وعلى متنها رائد فضاء واحد على الأقل. لكن مع ذلك فإن مجلس الوزراء لم يوافق على المشروع.

وقال البيان إنه ستكون هناك رحلتان غير مأهولتين وواحدة مأهولة ضمن برنامج “غاغانيان”، ودون ذكر موعد محدد للإطلاق قالت الحكومة إن المهمة المأهولة ستكون في “غضون أربعين شهرا” من اجتماع الجمعة.

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