Different models are possible in undertaking the proposed mission, first mooted nearly a decade ago, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation K Radhakrishnan told PTI.
Radhakrishnan, also Secretary in the Department of Space and Chairman of Space Commission, said there is a lot of discussion globally on collaboration in human space flight programmes (not India-specific, but general in nature).
"So, then, we should decide what we have to do in this area. There are different models available," he said.
One possibility is to have a human being (Indian) flown in Soyuz (Russian rocket) or some other system. "It’s like
paying the money, getting into it, conduct a small experiment and come back. That’s one part of it," he said.
Another model is to make a crew module indigenously and use a man-rate vehicle (rocket) of a foreign space agency, and he third option for India is to develop the rocket and associated technologies on its own and undertake the mission.
"All these things are there. The question is how much technology you will earn, what benefit you will get out of it
(in case of collaboration). One has to weigh it because you (India) must have a long-term programme for it (human space lights). We are not doing for the sake of doing it (the human space flight mission) actually," Radhakrishnan said.
"The question is when you take it (the programme) into future direction, how does it help you," Radhakrishnan said.
All these models are possible. We are not closed on any of these options. But one has to study as to how does it lead you the future," he added.
Asked if ISRO would initiate discussions with US and Russian space agencies for possible collaboration, he said,
"All these discussions will take place," and added that the entire space community is generally interested in such
On whether India is open to collaboration on this programme, Radhakrishnan said "there are no hard positions on
this. But one has to look at it."
"We have to weigh pros and cons. Finally, (the decision depends on) what benefit India gets in the immediate term and in the long term."
Even as it weighs options, ISRO is busy working on critical technologies needed for this complex mission.
The programme envisages the development of a fully autonomous orbital vehicle carrying two or three crew members to about 300 km low earth orbit and their safe return.
Three major areas that ISRO needs to master are, environmental control and life support (ECLS) system, crew
escape system and flight suite and it’s currently working on them, under pre-project studies for which the Government anctioned Rs 145 crore.
ISRO conducted initial studies for four years from 2002 to examine the technological challenges for the programme, then called manned space mission, and Indian capability.