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First tests for Indian Space Station expected next year: ISRO chief

Jan 18, 2024 04:37 PM IST

Last year, Isro confirmed that before the final space station is set up in 2035, the space agency will be setting up a preliminary version in 2028

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will be conducting the first round of tests for the Bharatiya Antariksh Station, India’s own space station which will be the hub for conducting micro-gravity studies, international collaborative research and further studies around space biology and medicine, chairman S Somanath said on Thursday.

Isro scientists said the Bharatiya Antariksh Station will serve as a gateway to interplanetary missions for India. (ANI file photo)
Isro scientists said the Bharatiya Antariksh Station will serve as a gateway to interplanetary missions for India. (ANI file photo)

Speaking to Hindustan Times on the sidelines of the India International Science Festival in Faridabad on Thursday, Somanath said that the space agency is currently focusing on setting up the Indian Space Station, the preliminary version of which is expected to go up by 2028.

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“By next year we are hoping to conduct the first round of tests for the space station,” the Isro chief said.

Last year, Isro confirmed that before the final space station is set up in 2035, the space agency will be setting up a preliminary version in 2028.

The Bharatiya Antariksh Station will have a crew command module, habitat module, propulsion module and docking ports. The entire capsule is estimated to have a mass of around 25 tonnes, which will be increased in the future depending on the expansion of the station.

“A basic model of the space station is expected to be put in orbit by 2028, by 2035 we will have the full, expanded version of it. I have been reviewing some of the designs,” Somanath said.

Also Read: For Gaganyaan astronauts, Isro may opt for Russian-made spacesuits

In a review meeting with the department of space in October last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set ambitious targets for India’s future space missions, announcing that Isro will be setting up an Indian Space Station by 2035 and will be sending the first Indian astronaut to the Moon by 2040.

“Building on the success of the Indian space initiatives, including the recent Chandrayaan-3 and Aditya-L1 missions, the Prime Minister directed that India should now aim for new and ambitious goals, including setting up ‘Bharatiya Antariksha Station’ (Indian Space Station) by 2035 and sending first Indian to the Moon by 2040,” PM was quoted in an official statement in October.

The department of space, which oversees the operations of Isro, was also directed to develop a roadmap for India’s future Moon exploration missions, which would essentially work towards planning subsequent series of the Chandrayaan mission, the development of a Next Generation Launch Vehicle (NGLV), which would be equipped to undertake return missions, the construction of a new launch pad and the setting up human-centric laboratories and associated technologies.

Currently, there is already an International Space Station which is in orbit, which brings together international flight crews, multiple launch vehicles, globally distributed launch and flight operations, training, engineering, and development facilities, communications networks, and the international scientific research community.

The space station was designed between 1984 and 1993 and elements of it were in constructed around US, Canada, Japan, and Europe.

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the ISS is the largest humanmade object ever to orbit Earth, having a pressurised volume of approximately 900 m3 (31,000 ft3) and a mass of over 400,000 kg (900,000 lbs). It orbits at an altitude of between 370km and 460km (200–250 nmi).

Isro scientists said the Bharatiya Antariksh Station will serve as a gateway to interplanetary missions for India and will also become an international platform for collaborative space research.

“There is a committee that has been formed that is dedicatedly overseeing the progress of space station designs. This will be a major milestone for Indian space programme,” said a senior ministry official.

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