Indian space programme advances with satellite plan

BANGALORE, April 8, 2010 (AFP) – India plans to put a satellite into orbit using its indigenously built cryogenic rocket engine, marking another step in the nation’s ambitious space programme, officials said. Cryogenic rocket motors, which use supercooled liquid fuel, have been built by only six countries or regions in the world, with India joining this club in October 2006, according to Indian space researchers.

The engine will now be used to put a communications satellite into orbit with a launch scheduled for April 15, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K. Radhakrishnan told reporters here on Wednesday.

The launch will take place at India’s space centre at Sriharikota on the coast of the eastern state of Andhra Pradesh, he said.

India began its space programme in 1963 and has developed its own satellites and launch vehicles to cut dependence on other countries.

Government funding of around 2.8 billion dollars has been secured for an attempt on its first manned space mission in 2016.

In September, India’s Chandrayaan-1 satellite discovered water on the moon, boosting its credibility among established space-faring nations.