India to launch mission to Mars this year, says president

NEW DELHI Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:16pm IST

A handout of the European Space Agency ESA shows a visualisation of Mars, created from spacecraft imagery. REUTERS/Handout

A handout of the European Space Agency ESA shows a visualisation of Mars, created from spacecraft imagery.

Credit: Reuters/Handout

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India will launch its first mission to Mars this year, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Thursday, as the emerging Asian nation looks to play catch up in the global space race alongside the United States, Russia and its giant neighbour China.

"Several space missions are planned for 2013, including India's first mission to Mars and the launch of our first navigational satellite," Mukherjee told parliament.

India will send a satellite in October via an unmanned spacecraft to orbit the red planet, blasting off from the southeastern coast in a mission expected to cost about $83 million, scientists who are part of the mission say.

The spacecraft, which will be made in India, will take nine months to reach Mars and then launch itself in an elliptical orbit about 500 km (310 miles) from the planet.

"The mission is ready to roll," Deviprasad Karnik, a scientist from the India Space Research Organisation (ISRO), said by phone from the city of Bangalore.

India's mission to Mars has drawn criticism in a country suffering from high levels of malnutrition and power shortages, and currently experiencing its worst slowdown in growth in ten years. But India has long argued that technology developed in its space programme has practical applications to everyday life.

India's space exploration programme began in 1962. Five years ago, its Chandrayaan satellite found evidence of water on the moon. India is now looking at landing a wheeled rover on the moon in 2014.

(Reporting by Satarupa Bhattacharjya; writing by Matthias Williams)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
SachiNewDelhi wrote:
I will hitch a ride on it.

Feb 21, 2013 4:09am IST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Adani Project

Adani Project

Australia approves Adani's $16 bln Carmichael coal project  Full Article 

India-U.S. Talks

India-U.S. Talks

Kerry to woo Modi's India, but quick progress unlikely  Full Article 

Paring Debt

Paring Debt

Jaiprakash to sell hydro plants to Reliance Power  Full Article 

Mideast Conflict

Mideast Conflict

U.N. Security Council calls for humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza  Full Article 

Market Eye

Market Eye

Foreign investors prefer Indian cyclicals, utilities - Macquarie  Full Article 

Debt Investment

Debt Investment

India's FII debt limit hike credit-positive, says Moody's  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage