India’s unmanned moon mission – Chandrayan – is expected to take place in 2007-08, and is progressing smoothly, the country’s space agency chief G. MadhavanNair said here Sunday.
“There has been a lot of debate in the scientific community whether we should do this because of the huge cost, but what I would like to say is that the total cost of the project is just Rs.3.8 billion (83 million US dollars),” Nair, chairman of the IndianSpace Research Organization (ISRO), told reporters. He said a manned mission has been ruled out as it will cost Rs.100 billion (2.2 billion US dollars). Nair said India’s space budget was just 500 million dollars while that of the United States was 12.5 billion dollars.
On the country’s communication satellite program, he said INSAT4A would blast off from French Guyana in February next year with apayload of 3.7 tons and would have 12 Ku band antennas and an equal number of C-band antennas. After this, INSAT 4B and 4C wouldbe launched.
Nair said that the recently launched educational satellite Edusat is doing well and it would become operational in a matter of four weeks.