ISRO to set up astronaut training institute

October 25th, 2008 - 6:53 pm ICT by IANS  

ISROBangalore, Oct 25 (IANS) Buoyed by the successful launch of the country’s maiden unmanned moon mission Chandrayaan-1, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to start an institute to train astronauts for its planned first manned space mission by 2015, said a top official.”Bangalore is our chosen destination to set up a state-of-the-art institute to train astronauts for our manned space mission. We have already got 40 acres of land near the new airport at Devanahalli (about 35 km from city centre) and the state government has promised to provide us with another 100 acres soon,” ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair told reporters Saturday at the Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) at Byalalu, about 40 km from Bangalore.

“We are hopeful that the institute will be functional by 2013. The project will cost us around Rs.10 billion and currently we are working on a detailed roadmap for the astronaut institute,” added Nair, on the sidelines of a felicitation function for ISRO’s scientists by Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.

Congratulating the scientists and top officials of ISRO, including two former chairmen of the organisation, K. Kasturirangan and U.R. Rao, the chief minister said the state would extend all possible help for further growth and development of the country’s space research and exploration.

“I heartily congratulate the scientists of ISRO and allied institutions on the successful launch of the moon mission,” said Yeddyurappa, who gifted a huge painting depicting various stories from the epic Mahabharata, to the space scientist community on their achievement.

“Two Indian scientists are likely to be part of our future effort (manned moon mission),” said Nair.

“We are aware of the challenges likely to be in our way in our endeavour and we’re ready to face all hurdles,” he added.

After the function, the chief minister got a first hand account of IDSN from the scientists. The network performs the important task of receiving the radio signals transmitted by the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. It sends commands to the spacecraft at a power level of up to 20 kilowatts. IDSN has two large parabolic antennas, one of 18 m and the other 32 m diameter.

Chandrayaan-1 blasted off Oct 22 at 6.22 a.m. onboard the 316-tonne polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV-C11) from the Satish Dhawan space centre at Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh, about 80 km north of Chennai.

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