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India building space capsule for possible piloted space mission

Earth as seen by Apollo 17
Earth as seen by Apollo 17

India seems to be gearing up to be the fourth country to put a human being in space, according to a February 16, 2014 story in India Today.

“The outer skeleton of an Indian human space capsule has been prepared by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bangalore and it has been handed over to the ISRO.

“According to reports, GSLV Mark III is the scheduled launch vehicle, powered by the indigenously developed cryogenic engines. Mark III will be tested in around mid-2014 for the first time from ISRO's testing centre at Sriharikota.”

The Indian Space Research Organization has yet to officially approve a human space effort, though it is suggested that the first Indian piloted space craft could be launched seven years after the project receives official approval. Thus far the Indian government has balked at the $2.5 billion price tag it would cost to put Indian astronauts in space. However, if and when the project happens, a crew of two or three would fly an Earth orbit mission for up to a week.

Indian astronauts have already flown into space as part of both the American and Russian space programs.