After the Moon, India eyeing human space flight

United Nations, Oct 22 (IANS) After the success of its first Chandrayaan moon mission, India is now looking at exploration of outer space using planetary missions including a human space flight programme, a UN panel was told.

“Having achieved self-reliance in end-to-end space programme, the Indian space programme is entering into space exploration phase mainly to explore inner solar system and build such capabilities for exploring outer solar system,” a member of the Indian parliament said Wednesday.

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“Exploration of outer space using planetary missions will be furthered with Chandrayaan-2 and its follow on missions,” said Ali Anwar Ansari participating in a debate of the special political and decolonisation committee on “International Cooperation In The Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.”

“India has also been discussing at various levels the need for embarking on a human space flight programme,” he said noting that during the last one year, India made a significant stride in space exploration through the Chandrayaan mission.

India’s first Chandrayaan-1 mission intended to study the Moon using eleven scientific instruments built in India and five other countries, Ansari said noting that “within a short time, Chandrayaan-1 has achieved its mission objective to the satisfaction of global scientific community.”

With this, preparation of a 3-dimensional atlas of the lunar surface and chemical and mineralogical mapping of entire lunar surface has been undertaken by scientists from India and abroad, he said.

Expressing India’s support for the United Nations’ efforts to increase the awareness of space-based benefits, Ansari invited developing countries to take advantage of India’s expertise in the space field.

“India takes special interest in capacity building and services for enabling the developing countries in the application of Space technology,” he said pointing at the UN affiliated Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Asia and Pacific Region operating from India.

So far 824 scholars from 31 countries from the Asia-Pacific region and 27 scholars from 17 countries outside the Asia-pacific region have benefited from the educational activities of this Centre, Ansari said adding, “India would like to request more participation from the member countries.”