India Will Launch Its Own Space Station in 5-7 Years: ISRO Chief

India is planning to launch its own space station, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K Sivan announced on Thursday, 13 June, enabling the agency to send more humans to space.

Sivan said that India won't join the International Space Station (ISS).

File image of the International Space Station. The only Space Station in the solar system.

THE SPACE STATION

The space station mission, according to ISRO, will be an extension of the Gaganyaan project, India’s first manned mission to the space.

The weight of the space station is likely to be 20 tonnes.

The Indian Space Station will be placed in an orbit 400 km above earth.

By planning a space station, ISRO is "not thinking of space tourism", ISRO chief K Sivan said. Sivan said the proposal will be sent to the government for approval after the first Gaganyaan mission by 2022 and it is looking at 5-7 years time frame for execution of the programme. He did not elaborate the cost of the proposed Indian space station.

According to a report from The Hindu, the detailed project report on setting up a space station will be submitted to the government after the Gaganyaan mission.

WHAT ISRO SAYS

K Sivan, who is also the Secretary of the Department of Space, said that India’s Space Station will be smaller than the International Space Station (ISS), and will be used to carry out microgravity experiments.

ISRO Chairman K Sivan announces India’s Space Station plans during a press conference.

" “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 moon, asteroids. We have a clear plan for the space programme.”" - K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO

"We are planning to have a separate space station. We will not be a part of ... (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," Sivan told reporters on Thursday, 13 June.

WHAT IS A SPACE STATION?

A space station is an artificial satellite capable of supporting crew members, designed to remain in space and conduct experiments for an extended period of time and for other spacecraft to dock.

Currently, there is only one fully functional space station in the Earth's lower orbit, the International Space Station (ISS) and astronauts conduct different experiments in it.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Image used for representation.

The first component of the ISS was launched into orbit in 1998, and first long-term residents arrived in November 2000.

The International Space Station is a partnership between European countries represented by European Space Agency, the United States (NASA), Japan (JAXA), Canada (CSA) and Russia (Roscosmos). It is the world's largest international cooperative programme in science and technology.

GAGANYAAN ON TRACK

On the Gaganyaan project, Sivan said the government has formed a National Advisory Council comprising top Indian honchos of players from the space industry, former ISRO chairman K Kasturirangan, Department of Science and Technology Secretary Ashutosh Sharma, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister K VijayRaghvan, Defence Research Development Organisation Chairman G Sateesh Reddy.

ISRO had already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Air Force for selection and training of pilots for the manned mission, The Hindu report said.

COMES ON THE BACK OF SOLAR, VENUS MISSIONS

ISRO launches a navigation satellite. Image used for representation.

After India’s second Moon Mission, Chandrayaan-2, ISRO will also launch a mission to the Sun, on board the Aditya L-1 spacecraft.

Sivan also announced that a mission to Venus will also be launched in the next 2-3 years.

Elaborating on Aditya L1 mission, Sivan said the mission will study the corona of the Sun, which is the outermost part of its atmosphere.

" “It is 1.5 million kilometres from the Earth. It will always look at the Sun and give analysis of corona because it has a major impact on climate change.”" - K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO

On the ISRO's mission to Venus, he said the planet is a "burning body with very high temperature".

"Most missions have failed. We want to succeed and study atmospheric composition of the planet," he said, planning that they have set a target of 2-3 years to launch the mission.

France is also collaborating with India on its mission to Venus.

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