India plans manned space mission in 2016
India will launch its first manned space mission in 2016 in a bid to match space pioneers such as Russia and the United States, a top official said Wednesday.
The government had already approved plans for a human space flight project by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and last year gave the go-ahead for funding of around 2.8 billion dollars.
ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan said the agency would develop the space module for the programme within four years.
"We are planning a human space flight in 2016, with two astronauts who will spend seven days in the Earth's lower orbit," Radhakrishnan told reporters at ISRO headquarters in Bangalore.
In September, India's Chandrayaan-1 satellite discovered water on the moon, boosting India's credibility among established space-faring nations.
India began its space programme in 1963 and has developed its own satellites and launch vehicles to cut dependence on overseas agencies.
(c) 2010 AFP