Top Indian space department officials revealed on Thursday that India would launch a Mars Mission in 2013. The country intends to undertake an orbital probe mission around Mars in attempts to grasp deeper understanding of its geology and climate.
The 2013 mission will be a milestone in India’s greater plans to launch its first ever manned mission in 2016. This is a representation of the increased aggression in India’s space programs.
According to reports, an Indian Polar satellite Launch Vehicle rocket will be used to transport the orbiter spaceship. This 320 ton rocket will blast from the state run Indian Space Research Organization launch site in Sriharikota, Andhra Prandesh.
The financial dynamics surrounding the deal are still not as clear. All the same, there is a rough estimate from a source that opted to remain behind the veil of anonymity. The unnamed source, who is a top official at ISRO, estimated the cost in a range of $70-$90 million. However, during the last federal budget, the government appropriated an equivalent of about $22.4 million to the project.
The ISRO made mention of the necessary steps that it needed to take before launching the project. Deviprasad Karnik, the director at ISRO, noted that the project would launch soon after the department of science had given a go ahead. “We will embark on the Mars mission after the Department of Science gives the green signal and decides the schedule early next year,” he said.
India’s space program dates back to 1963. Over the years, it has grown incredibly and currently has its own independent satellites. Developing its own satellite has allowed the ISRO to reduce dependence on overseas agencies, consequentially leading to reduced costs.
Apart from the Mars program slated for next year, there are also plans of undertaking a Venus orbiter mission. Other plans in the pipeline include a solar exploration mission by the end of 2014.
The ISRO has notable achievements to show for its 49 years of existence. Back in September 2009, its Chandrayaan-1 satellite stumbled upon interesting discoveries on the moon. During a lunar exploration, water was discovered on the moon, making it the first vessel to make such a discovery.
All the same, it has not been all roses for ISRO. Back in September 2010, a satellite launch vehicle exploded and fell into the Bay of Bengal. It was later established that the explosion was caused after the satellite vessel veered off its desired flight path.