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India contemplates manned spaceflight
Posted: Sat, Aug 14, 2004, 11:38 AM ET (1538 GMT)
The head of India's space agency said this week that his country could mount a manned orbital spaceflight by early next decade, if the country so desired. G. Madhavan Nair, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told reporters Thursday that India could develop its own human-rated spacecraft and launch someone into orbit in seven to eight years. Such an effort, Nair said, could cost on the order of 100 billion rupees (US$2.2 billion). That expense, he said, would require a national debate on the issue, although he felt that it would demonstrate that India's technology does not lag behind other nations, notably China, which launched its first human into space last year. Nair said, however, that he felt that there was no scientific reason for sending humans into space, since unmanned communications, remote sensing, and other satellites can be used for a fraction of the cost of sending humans into space.
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