NEW DELHI — The Union Cabinet Friday approved the Gaganyaan project under which a three-member crew will be sent to space for at least seven days, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
The project will cost Rs 10,000 crore, he said at a press conference here.
If successful, India will be the fourth nation to achieve the feat after the US, Russia and China.
The Gaganyaan project was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech. He had said the mission would be undertaken by 2022.
India has already inked agreements with Russia and France for assistance in the ambitious project.
In his Independence Day address, PM Modi said the Gaganyaanwould be launched using ISRO’s own capabilities.
In August, ISRO Chairman K Sivan said technologies that would help in sending an Indian astronaut to space - like the human crew module and the environment control and life support system - have already been developed.
Chandrayaan-1 was India’s first lunar probe. It was launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation in October 2008 and operated till August 2009, while the Mangalyaan is a space probe orbiting Mars since September 24, 2014.
Rakesh Sharma, a former IAF pilot, was the first Indian to travel to space. Sharma was a part of the Soviet Union’s Soyuz T-11 expedition, launched on April 2, 1984, as part of the Intercosmos programme.
Indian-born Kalpana Chawla and Indian-origin Sunita Williams are among the known names to have gone to space.
Chawla was one of the seven crew members who died in the space shuttle Columbia disaster during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere in 2003.
In 2019, ISRO will launch Chandrayaan-2, which will land a rover on the moon.