India Aims to Build Earth-Orbiting Space Station by 2035

India Aims to Build Earth-Orbiting Space Station by 2035

Fresh off its historic success with a robotic moon landing, India is setting its sights on even more
extraordinary achievements in space exploration. The nation's government recently announced plans to place an astronaut on the lunar surface by 2040 and construct an Earth-orbiting space station by 2035.

India's journey to these remarkable goals began with a significant milestone on August 23. On this date, India achieved the distinction of becoming only the fourth nation to successfully soft-land a spacecraft on the moon. The Chandrayaan-3 lander-rover duo touched down on the lunar surface, marking a monumental achievement in India's space program.

In a pivotal meeting with the Indian government department responsible for overseeing the country's space endeavors, Prime Minister Narendra Modi directed the nation to pursue new and ambitious objectives. The Indian government unveiled a multifaceted strategy to realize these goals, including:

1. Future Moon Exploration: India's lunar exploration efforts will encompass a series of additional robotic Chandrayaan missions. These missions will be supported by the development of a new launch pad and a heavy-lift launch vehicle, signifying the nation's dedication to lunar exploration.

2. Gaganyaan Human Spaceflight Program: India's long-awaited Gaganyaan human spaceflight program is now poised to send three astronauts into low Earth orbit by 2025. The program will entail a comprehensive series of 20 major tests, including three uncrewed missions designed to evaluate the launch vehicle's performance.

3. High-Altitude Abort Test: As part of the Gaganyaan program's testing phase, India will conduct its first high-altitude abort test. This critical test aims to validate the crew escape system's functionality and will occur on October 21. The Test Vehicle Demonstration 1 (TV-D1) mission will launch from Sriharikota and assess the effectiveness of drogue parachutes in stabilizing the spacecraft during reentry into Earth's atmosphere.

4. Earth-Orbiting Space Station: By the mid-2030s, India aspires to have a 20-ton space station in a fixed orbit located 248 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth's surface. This space station will possess the capabilities to host astronauts for extended durations, ranging from 15 to 20 days at a time.

5. Venus and Mars Missions: India's space exploration efforts extend beyond the moon. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning a Venus orbiter mission called Shukrayaan-1, which aims to study the surface of the scorching planet. Additionally, a second orbiter mission to Mars, referred to as Mars Orbiter Mission 2 (MOM 2), is in the planning stages. MOM 2 is expected to include cameras for studying Mars' crust and may feature a lander.

India Aims to Build Earth-Orbiting Space Station by 2035

India's visionary space goals have garnered international attention and admiration. While India pursues its lunar aspirations, the United States and China are also embarking on their lunar missions, with each nation eyeing the moon as a stage for significant advancements in space exploration. The United States is set to launch Artemis 3, its first crewed lunar landing mission in late 2025, while China is working toward its own crewed lunar touchdown in the coming decade.

As India continues to make significant strides in space exploration, the world eagerly watches its journey toward building an Earth-orbiting space station by 2035 and achieving new milestones in lunar exploration.

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