India plans manned space flight by 2022

India will send a manned flight into space for the first time by 2022, premier Narendra Modi announces during his Independence Day speech

  • Premier Modi says India will be the fourth country to fly astronauts into space
  • It will follow in the footsteps of Russia, United States, and China 
  • Rakesh Sharma was the first Indian national to travel into space in 1984
  • India has pledged to launch an unmanned craft to the moon by January 2019 
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India will send a manned flight into space by 2022, premier Narendra Modi pledged during his annual ‘Independence Day’ speech.

If the country successfully completes the flight, it will become the fourth country to ever achieve the feat, following in the footsteps of Russia, United States and China.

India has yet to select the astronauts that will travel aboard the ship, but confirmed the cosmonauts could be men or women.

Active since the 1960s, India’s space programme has launched scores of satellites for itself and other countries, including a satellite that now orbits Mars.

The Indian Space Research Organisation last week confirmed plans to send an unmanned mission to the moon in January 2019.

It hopes to showcase its technological ability to explore the solar system while also using research from space and elsewhere to solve problems closer to home.

India celebrates Independence Day on August 15 to commemorate its independence from the UK on the same day in 1947, when Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act to handover sovereignty to the Indian Constituent Assembly. 

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India will send a manned flight into space by 2022, premier Narendra Modi (pictured) announced as part of India’s independence day celebrations 

India has already achieved a huge amount of success with its national space programme.

The £790 (£1,000) million-a-year space agency has helped to develop satellites with remote-sensing technologies to gauge underground water levels across India.

These satellites have also been used to predict weather patterns across the country, which is prone to cycles of drought and flood. 

The space capsule India will use to transport its astronauts was successfully tested a few days earlier, Modi announced during the 71st annual Independence Day celebrations.

‘India will send into space – a man or a woman – by 2022, before that if possible,’ Modi confirmed.

The astronaut would be ‘carrying the national flag,’ he revealed during the 80-minute speech, which was broadcast live from the historic Red Fort in New Delhi. 

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Stepping up its rivalry with China, India has invested heavily in its space programme over the course of the last decade.

India’s Chandrayaan-2 orbiter aims to land a rover onto the moon’s surface to collect data in January 2019.

Design changes to the craft forced the space body to push the launch back, which was originally scheduled for this year, the Indian Space Research Organisation confirmed last week.

Chandrayaan-1, launched in 2008, orbited the moon and sent a probe to the surface which made a controlled crash landing.

India also launched an orbiter to Mars in 2013, which is still operational.

Last year, the country launched a record 104 satellites in one blast-off.

Mr Modi listed his government’s achievements in the past four years in reforming the country’s economy, reducing poverty and corruption. Indian children (pictured) sit in formation to spell out the Hindi word Bharat – the name of the country 


Chandrayaan-1 was India’s first lunar orbiter, launched in 2008.  

The £49 million ($69 million) mission was launched amid national euphoria, putting India in the Asian space race alongside rival China and reinforcing its claim to be considered a global power.

A vehicle landed on the moon a month later and sent back images of the lunar surface.

In 2009 India terminated the mission a year earlier than planned, after scientists lost all contact with their unmanned orbiting spacecraft. 

Chandrayaan-1 (pictured) was India’s first lunar orbiter, launched in 2008. The £49 million ($69 million) mission was launched amid national euphoria

A crucial sensor in the main craft malfunctioned in July experts believe.

The satellite is believed to have crashed into the moon’s surface.

‘Our efforts to establish contact have failed. The mission has been terminated,’ said S Satish, from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) at the time.

‘There was no point continuing with the mission.’  

Named Chandrayaan-2, the vehicle will take between one and two months to reach orbit and once the rover reaches the surface it will explore the area around the south pole.

It is the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) second lunar probe. 

Weighing nearly 3,300kg (7,300lbs), the spacecraft will take off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, off India’s southwest coast. 

It is now set for launch in January 2019.  

Premier Modi listed his government’s achievements in the past four years in reforming the country’s economy, reducing poverty and corruption. 

He also announced a health insurance scheme for 500 million poor people providing a cover of 500,000 rupees (£5,600/ £7,000) per family a year.

He said India will become a growth engine for the world economy as the ‘sleeping elephant’ has started to run on the back of structural economic reforms.

He said the economy was seen as fragile before 2014, but is now attracting more investment worldwide.

India is currently the sixth-largest economy in the world. Mr Modi said international institutions see India as as engine to strengthen the world economy for the next three decades.

He said structural reforms like a national tax, which replaced a swathe of state and local taxes, bankruptcy and insolvency laws, as well as a crackdown on corruption, have helped transform the economy for the better.

Modi became prime minister when his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won a resounding victory in the national elections in 2014.

He will seek another five-year term for his party at elections due by March-April next year.

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