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Tests on Bharatiya Space Station next year: Somanath

FARIDABAD (PTI): ISRO plans to carry out the first tests of the proposed Bharatiya Space Station next year and talks are on with the industry to manufacture, test and launch its first module by 2028, the space agency's chief S Somanath said on Thursday.

Interacting with reporters on the sidelines of the India International Science Festival, he said India's first mission to Venus is also likely to be launched in 2028 and engineers are working on bringing down costs on certain high-value components.

Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi set ISRO a target to launch the Bharatiya Space Station by 2035 and land an Indian astronaut on the Moon by 2040.

"It will happen next year. On Tuesday, I had a review of the Bharatiya Space Station architecture. Our people are working on so many options. Which one to choose, I am really having mixed feelings now," Somanath responded to a question on whether any tests of the space station would be carried out in the near future.

He said the Prime Minister's announcement has really created an enthusiasm internally and ISRO was already talking to the industry to manufacture, test and launch the space station in 2028.

"It is a space station, not a person. The person will come whenever they are there. It will still work if there is nobody there," Somanath said, indicating that initially the space station will be unmanned.

He said the agency also planned to launch the mission to Venus in 2028 and engineers were working towards it.

"Venus mission has already been proposed once, we are looking at how to bring down the costs. There are some high value items we want to bring down the cost," Somanath said.

He said it was not possible to give a timeline for the Venus mission as the primary goal for ISRO was the tasks set by the Prime Minister.

He said ISRO was also working on developing a new rocket to launch heavier payloads.

The Next Generation Launch Vehicle (NGLV) was being developed as the country was now pursuing missions to send humans to the Moon and build a space station.

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