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Lunar mission not abandoned: ISRO chief

Our Bureau

Hyderabad , Sept. 13

THE Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Dr G. Madhavan Nair, has announced that ISRO has not abandoned its lunar mission. Instead, he said, the first phase is planned for 2007-08 with an investment outlay of Rs 380 crore.

Addressing newspersons on the sidelines of a workshop organised by the Aeronautical Society of India on Sunday, Dr Nair said ISRO was still working on instrumented spacecraft since a manned mission to the moon would be highly expensive. He pointed out that even developed countries such as the US were planning manned missions only in 2015, stressing on the need for national debate on the programme. According to Dr Nair, the lunar mission was primarily aimed at understanding the moon better and to explore the possibilities of exploiting its minerals. In this area, advanced countries such as the US and Japan were already in the race.

Dr Nair said ISRO would put into orbit the world's first satellite for education on September 20 from the spaceport of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on board the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). Edu-Sat is the first satellite exclusively for education to provide greater impetus to distance education programme, thereby making the countrywide virtual classroom a reality, he said.

The education exclusive satellite has been specially configured to meet the growing demand for interactive satellite-based distance education system for the country through audio-visual medium employing Direct-To-Home quality broadcast.

The satellite would have multiple regional beams covering different parts of India, five Ku-band transponders with spot beams covering five regions of the country, a Ku-band transponder with its footprint covering the Indian mainland region and six C-band transponders with their footprints covering the entire country.

The IRSO chief asserted that the country today has not only achieved self-reliance but also reached a stage where the indigenously developed GSLVs were being used by countries such as Korea, Germany and Belgium countries to launch their satellites.

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