Indian Space Research Organization chief K Sivan on Wednesday announced that the space agency's third lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, has been approved by the Centre.
He also announced that four astronauts have been identified for Gaganyaan, the agency's first manned space mission.
Addressing a press conference at the ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru, Sivan said that the Chandrayaan-3 mission is ongoing and is slated for a 2021 launch.
He said ISRO is acquiring land for a second spaceport in Thoothukudi.
The ISRO chief added that the mission may take 14-16 months. It will involve a lander and rover configuration and rely on Chandrayaan-2's orbiter, he said.
Speaking on ISRO's Chandrayaan-2 mission last year, Sivan said, "We've made good progress on Chandrayaan-2, even though we couldn't land successfully."
He said, "The orbiter is still functioning, it's going to function for the next 7 years to produce scientific data."
ISRO had attempted to make a soft landing on the moon's south pole, however, the lander crashed onto the lunar surface in September.
In fact, on Tuesday, Minister of State for Department of Space Jitendra Singh had also confirmed the Chandrayaan-3 mission, "Yes, the lander and rover mission will most likely happen in 2020."
He added, "The Chandrayaan-2 mission cannot be called a failure as we have learnt a lot from it. There is no country in the world that has landed on its first attempt."
Sivan also announced that four astronauts have been selected for ISRO's manned mission, Gaganyaan—expected to be implemented by 2022.
Without naming the astronauts, he said all four are from the Indian Air Force and will start training in the third week of January in Russia.
The training process was finalized after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Russian President Vladimir Putin in September, Sivan said.
The Gaganyaan mission will reportedly involve two unmanned missions and one manned flight to space. Sivan said, "We will be sending a humanoid as part of unmanned mission. Six science experiments will be conducted, related to microgravity and bioscience."
Love India news?
Subscribe to stay updated.