India’s ambitious trajectory towards establishing its own space station by 2035 and achieving the milestone of sending an Indian astronaut to the Moon by 2040 remains firmly on course, as affirmed by P. Veeramuthuvel, the project director of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Chandrayaan-3 mission, on Saturday (Feb 10).
Key developments thus far underscore the determined efforts of the Indian space agency, with ISRO diligently progressing towards the realization of the country’s inaugural space station, Bharatiya Antariksh Station (BAS). This endeavor, elucidated by the Indian Minister of Science and Technology, is slated for phased assembly, with ISRO steadfastly targeting completion by 2035.
Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ISRO chairman S. Somanath have unequivocally articulated the nation’s aspirations of achieving lunar exploration milestones, including the dispatch of an Indian astronaut to the Moon by 2040, alongside the establishment of a dedicated space station.
Recent disclosures by Indian Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science and Technology, Dr. Jitendra Singh, shed light on the nascent stages of BAS’s conceptualization. Within this phase, ISRO is meticulously assessing architectural nuances, including module configurations, docking mechanisms, among other pivotal considerations.
Further elucidating ISRO’s strategic roadmap, Dr. Singh emphasized the agency’s concerted efforts towards delineating a comprehensive framework for module realization and launch sequencing.
Addressing the financial imperative, Dr. Singh underscored that funding allocations would be pursued post the culmination of feasibility assessments, with subsequent proposals slated for governmental approval. However, a definitive timeline for this process was not explicitly outlined.
In a significant fiscal gesture, the interim budget for the year 2024-25 earmarked approximately $1.63 billion (Rs 13,042 crore) for the Department of Space (DoS), signifying governmental commitment to fostering space exploration endeavors. The DoS, encompassing ISRO and the space sector regulator IN-SPACe, stands poised to orchestrate India’s cosmic odyssey.
Providing insights into ISRO’s lunar aspirations, Dr. Singh underscored the agency’s ongoing conceptualization of lunar missions, spanning robotic exploration endeavors encompassing orbiters, landers, and rovers. Prospective missions entail lunar sample collection and return initiatives, paving the trajectory for eventual human lunar landings.
India’s steadfast march towards a prominent presence in space exploration underscores a paradigm shift in global space dynamics, with ISRO poised to chart new frontiers in celestial exploration while bolstering national prestige on the cosmic stage.