State-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will send an Indian astronaut into space for the first time by 2022, an official said on Wednesday.
"All the critical technologies for the human space mission are being developed. We will pursue it to put an Indian astronaut in space by 2022," a senior ISRO official told IANS, citing the space agency Chairman K.Sivan's statement.
Addressing the nation on the occasion of Independence Day earlier in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that an Indian would be sent to space by 2022. So far, only the US, Russia and China have launched human spaceflights.
ISRO Chairman Sivan earlier said a mission document for India's human space programme was in the making. "Critical technologies are being developed for our human space programme, as it is India's dream to put a man in space. A mission document is in the making," Sivan had said on July 7 at an event in Bengaluru.
The space agency on July 5 carried out a successful maiden pad abort tests at its spaceport Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh for the safe escape of the crew in an emergency.
"The technology is very essential for our manned missions in the future," Sivan had said. The crew escape system is an emergency escape measure designed to quickly pull the crew module along with the astronauts to a safe distance from the launch vehicle in the event of a launch abort.
The ISRO Chairman, however, admitted that the space agency was "not close" to a human spaceflight yet. "We are not close to that. We need to work a lot towards achieving the dream of putting a man in space," Sivan added.
Recently, ISRO had announced that India is ready to launch two space missions every month, with 31 launches slated to take place over the coming 16 months, starting September 2018 to December next year, a top official said on Sunday.
The space agency will be attempting its second lunar mission, "Chandrayaan-2", on January 3, after its first mission a decade ago in 2008.