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Man on moon on hold: Isro

Sriharikota, Oct. 17: The Indian Space Research Organisation today said the country’s first “unmanned mission to the moon” was on course but ruled out a manned mission in the near future.

“I do not see the need for us putting a man in space now,” Isro chairman G. Madhavan Nair said today at a news conference here, following the successful launch of Resourcesat-1.

“We do not have any idea of putting a man into space in the near future and the need of the hour is to perfect our instrumentation systems.”

Today’s launch of the remote sensing satellite was “more than putting half-a-dozen people in space” for the next five years, Nair said.

Preparations, however, were on for Chandrayan-I, the unmanned mission, he said, with the Centre having approved the project with an outlay of Rs 380 crore. “We hope to complete this mission in the next five years,” Nair said.

The sturdy polar satellite launch vehicle, used in today’s mission, will launch the satellite to the moon as well, he added.

According to Nair, technologies such as imaging and mapping systems for the lunar surface would have to be readied first.

The satellite for the purpose should be able to go up to 350,000 km, far more than the present 30,000 km an Isro launch vehicle can handle, he emphasised.

Nair also disclosed that the “second launch pad” being built at Sriharikota for Rs 400 crore would be ready for use from the middle of next year.

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