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India to set up its own space station within 7 yrs


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After populating space with satellites and sending probes to Moon and Mars, India will have an address in the skies. Isro chief K Sivan has said India will set up its own space station, within seven years.

Addressing reporters along with minister of state for department of space Jitendra Singh in New Delhi, he said the project would be an extension of Gaganyaan, India's first manned mission slated for early 2022. "We don't want to be part of the International Space Station (ISS), therefore we want to set up our own. Our station won't be very big. It will have a mass of 20 tonnes and be used for studies including microgravity tests. It will have provision for people to live for 15-20 days," Sivan said.

India, meanwhile, will be part of international collaborations to send humans to Moon and Mars, and colonise the Moon, the chairman said.

For three years, Isro has been quietly working on 'space docking experiment' (Spadex), a technology that is crucial for making the space station functional. The department of space had allocated Rs 10 crore for Spadex that allows transferring humans from one spacecraft to another. The immediate goal, however, will be to enable refuelling of spacecraft and transfer other systems from Earth to the station.

Isro scientists on the Spadex project have been working on signal analysis equipment, high-precision videometer for navigation, docking system electronics and real-time decision making for landing systems. "As part of Spadex, we will develop and demonstrate technologies needed for docking two spacecraft (chase & target) and to control one spacecraft from the attitude control system of other spacecraft in the docked condition," Isro said.
On the Gaganyaan mission, Sivan said, "We are racing against time to meet the 2022 launch deadline given by Prime Minister. As we are planning to launch the mission by December 2021, we will send our shortlisted astronauts for advanced training abroad as there is no time to set up the training centre here. However, the basic training will happen in India." Jitendra Singh said shortlisting of the Indian crew will be over in six weeks and training will be completed in a year or two.



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