India’s 3rd lunar mission may spill over to 2021

MUMBAI – The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has planned to launch its third lunar mission Chandrayaan 3 in 2021 following approval from the government along with Human Spaceflight program Gaganyaan in 2022, ISRO Chairman K Sivan said on Wednesday.

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2020 will be the year of Chandrayaan 3 and Gaganyaan, he said indicating that the lunar mission may spill over to 2021, if not held by the end of the year. In November 2019, media reported that the third lunar mission will be held in November 2020.

Chandrayaan 3 will be similar to its second mission in 2019, which crash-landed on the moon just moments before it was supposed to soft-land.

The second mission was undertaken at a cost of 134 million US dollars while the slated third lunar mission would be at 35 percent lower in costs at 86 million US dollars, Sivan said, adding that the agency is looking at over 25 missions in the new calendar year.

As part of the Indian Human Spaceflight Program, Gaganyaan mission, which will be an Indian crewed orbital spacecraft with three astronauts on board for a minimum of seven days, is planned by 2022, he told a press conference in Bengaluru.

Four men from the Indian Air Force have been selected to undergo training in Russia from the third week of January for the Gaganyaan mission, Sivan said.

The Indian space agency that launched 319 foreign satellites in 2019 is planning to build a second space port near Thoothukudi in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, 580 km South of Bengaluru.

The agency currently has space port at Sriharikota for launching satellites in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, 353 km East of Bengaluru.

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