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Chandrayaan II may be delayed, says ISRO Chief
by Staff Writers
New Delhi (IANS) Sep 12, 2012

ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan.

India's quest for the moon, by the name of "Chandrayaan II," planned for 2013-14, may be delayed. Indicating this at a news conference organised after the successful launch of "PSLV-C21", the 100th mission of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan said that while ISRO was keen on making the second "moon mission" a reality as scheduled, its Russian partner had other ideas.

Underscoring that "Chandrayaan-II" was an Indo-Russian joint project, he said while the satellite and its rover were built by India, the "lander module" has to come from Russia.

"From our side, things are in very good shape, but in the light of certain recent events vis-a-vis developments in China, Russia is reviewing various aspects of its space programme, including the 'Lander Model'," Radhakrishnan said, adding that the exact date of availability of the lander is not certain.Taking a range of questions from the media, Radhakrishnan said ISRO has lined up a number of projects for the 12th Five Year Plan:?A total of 58 missions comprising 25 launch vehicles and 33 satellite launches.

Besides, seven navigation satellites, high sensing and remote sensing satellites, GSLV, scientific programmes like 'Astrosat' and technology developments are part of this huge basket, he said. The Centre is yet to finalise the financial outlay for the Department of Space in the 12th Five Year Plan.

Radhakrishnan said though "Mars orbiter mission" poses several challenges, it is very much a part of the Plan. While the earliest opportunity for the Mars mission is October-November 2013, when the planet would be closest to the Earth, the next opportunities will be in 2016 and 2018, he said.

"Our objective is to get an elliptical orbit for the Mars Orbiter; we can build the spacecraft (an extended PSLV version) and also determine the orbit, but several other challenges like the quality of the module that needs to operate beyond 300 days can be met only in stages," the ISRO chief said.

Stating that India was not in competition with China on the 'Mars mission', he said India's space programme was based on a long-term vision for space technology applications. To a query, he said the Cabinet had approved only Rs150 crore for pre-project exercises to explore future growth potential areas in space exploration.

He said a "multi-object tracking radar" will be established at Sriharikota in the next three years to protect the ISRO-launched satellites from the falling space debris. Another major project sanctioned for the Satish Dhawan Space Centre is constructing a second vehicle assembly building to "augment our launches".

Source: Indo-Asia News Service


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