India’s human space flight programme got a major boost as the General Budget on Friday proposed a significant allocation to it and also sought increase in funds for setting up an indigenous global positioning system.
The Budget, presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the Lok Sabha, has allocated Rs 150 crore for the human spaceflight programme under which the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to develop a space vehicle to put a two-member crew in space and get them back safely.
The government has already approved pre-project research and development activities in this regard.
The plan allocation for ISRO has been pegged at Rs 5,000 crore as against the revised budgetary estimates of Rs 3,172 crore last year.
The Budget has proposed Rs 100 crore for Chandrayaan-I and II. Space scientists are planning to land two robotic rovers on the moon to carry out tests on the lunar surface.
The allocation for the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS), on the lines of US’ Global Positioning System (GPS), was pegged at Rs 262.10 crore against the revised estimates of Rs 220 crore last year.
ISRO plans to have a constellation of seven satellites which are expected to provide position accuracies similar to GPS in a region in and around the country. The first satellite is targeted for launch in 2011.
The Budget allocated Rs 250 crore for developing the semi-cryogenic engine, which is key to development of advanced rockets to launch heavier satellites.
Mukherjee has earmarked Rs 40 crore for Aditya, the space department’s ambitious project to launch a satellite to study the sun.
The project would be India’s maiden space-based coronagraph to study the Sun’s corona. The objective of the project is to have a fundamental understanding of the physical process that heat up the solar corona, accelerate the solar wind and produce coronal mass ejections.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) project has been allocated Rs 250 crore. ISRO’s warhorse rocket, PSLV had put in orbit the Chandrayaan-I and two launches of the rocket are scheduled for the first quarter of 2010-11