India will make its first ever trip to Venus, and also revisit Mars soon.
According to a PTI report, the government's first formal acknowledgement about these two projects were present in the new format electronic budget documents.
That the department of space got a 23 percent increase in budget this year only goes on to show the government's keenness in developing the country's premier space agency. The budget, presented by Arun Jaitley, has mentions of two provisions for "Mars Orbiter Mission II and Mission to Venus," the PTI report stated.
India's first mission to Mars was in 2013, and the second one is tentatively slated for the 2021-2022 time period. For the second mission, the French space agency also wants to collaborate with India to make and send a rover on Mars.
As for India's first trip to its other immediate neighbour, Venus, it is likely to be a modest orbiter mission, the report further stated. Even NASA has shown interest in collaborating with India on the project.
"India should be part of this global adventure and exploring Venus and Mars is very worthwhile since humans definitely need another habitation beyond Earth," K Kasturirangan, former chairman of ISRO, told PTI.
Just recently, it was announced that India will create history by launching a record 104 satellites, including 101 foreign ones, on February 15 from Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh.
"We have tentatively decided to launch the satellites at one go around 9 a.m. into the sun-synchronous orbit, about 500 km above the earth," an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) official told IANS.
Of the total earth-observation satellites, three are Indian, 88 are from the US and the remaining are from Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.
"A 320-tonne rocket- Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C37)- will launch all the satellites with a combined weight of 1,500 kg, including the 650 kg remote-sensing Cartosat-2 and two nano-satellites (IA and IB) weighing 15 kg each," the official said.
The combined weight of 100 foreign micro or smaller satellites will be 820 kg.
Though the Indian space agency had launched 20 satellites in one shot on June 22, 2016, the launch of 104 satellites will surpass the 37 satellites launch record set in June 2014 and 29 satellites launched by NASA in 2013.
The launch of over 100 spacecraft together will be a major achievement for India as such an attempt was not made before by any of the dozen space-faring nations.
With IANS inputs