The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is planning to launch its own space station, said K Sivan, Director of ISRO, said at a joint briefing with MoS PMO Dr Jitendra Singh on Thursday, adding that it would be an extension of Gaganyaan - India's first indigenous manned mission to space which is planned to launch in 2022.
"We have to sustain the Gaganyaan programme after the launch of (the) human space mission. In this context, India is planning to have its own space station," Sivan told reporters during the joint press conference of Centre-ISRO.
With this ambitious project, India is set to embark upon a journey that may well culminate in gaining entry into a very exclusive club currently occupied by just three countries - the US, China and Russia.
READ: MASSIVE: India Planning To Have Own Space Station, Announces ISRO Detailing Extension Of Gaganyaan Mission. Details HereAs per NASA, the International
A space station, which is crafted to accommodate astronauts and enable them to remain and perform various activities while remaining in orbit around the Earth, was first launched in 1971 by the Soviet Union, called the Salyut 1. As of 2018, one fully functioning space station is in Earth orbit: the International Space Station while China, US and Russia are looking to launch more space stations in the future.
As of January 2018, 230 individuals from 18 countries have visited the International Space Station. Top participating countries include the United States (145 people) and Russia (46 people). The International Space Station includes contributions from 15 nations. NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia) and the European Space Agency are the major partners of the space station who contribute most of the funding; the other partners are the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.
Russia had set a footing into the international space with the launch of the Mir space station which remained in orbit over 15 years before its orbit decayed in 2001. The ISS subsequently eclipsed Mir's time spent in space. China launched its latest space station Tiangong-1 in 2011. The station is believed to have burned up on re-entry into the Earth after ending its service. While the success of Mission Shakti established India as a space power, with the launch of its own space station, it is all set to take it to another level.