ISRO working on manned space mission: Dr Radhakrishnan

Mumbai: After the success of Mangalyaan, the Indian Space Research Organisation is working on developing technology to send a manned mission to space, the organisation’s former chief Dr K Radhakrishnan today said.

“We have been able to send robots to space. Technology available in India needs to have a few more steps to be able to send human beings to space,” Radhakrishnan said during an interaction with senior space scientist Pramod Kale at the 102nd Indian Science Congress which opened here today.

“Sending human beings to space requires ability to provide the environment and life support system for the crew, minimising the failure rate and developing an escape system, etc. ISRO is working on several such things,” he said. Speaking about the challenges faced by Mars mission, he said, “The hurdles began with getting a particular position of the planets. That put a limit on the opportunities available for mission launch.”

“The mission was completed in a record time of 4 years 2 months and the spacecraft was tested in a very short span of 18 months. We expected it to have a lifespan of 6 months. It has already completed 100 days of existence in the Mars orbit and is expected to last at least 6 more months. It would be too early to speak about the findings of the mission. But the data being received from the craft is of very good quality. Scientists find it to be very useful while analysing it,” Radhakrishnan said replying to a question.

The ground team was able to manoeuvre the craft to save it from a possible encounter with a comet, he said. The ‘auto’ mode of the mission too has been tested. Scientists are now waiting for June, when the craft would be out of reach of the ground control for around 15 days. “If we could regain control over the craft after that period, that would be one more major achievement,” Radhakrishnan said.

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