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India eyes man in space by 2016

Confirms $2.76bn mission

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

India has announced its bid to the fourth nation to put a man in space, and says it'll put a pair of astronauts into a seven-day low-Earth orbit in 2016.

According to the International Business Times, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is firming up just what "infrastructure and facilities" the $2.76bn project will need. These include an new astronaut training facility in Bangalore and a third launch pad at India's spaceport in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan said the programme's "space module" will be ready in four years. He wasn't giving much away, but said the vehicle would have "extra facilities like entry into crew capsule* and an escape chute".

Other technical challenges facing the ISRO include just how to cook up a decent space curry, and it last year tasked the Defence Food Research Laboratory with coming up with a viable zero-grav bhaji to sustain its space pioneers.

India's plan to follow Russia, the US and China in putting a man aloft follows its successful Chandrayaan-1 Moon mission, which blasted off in 2008.

Bootnote

* Aka a "door", we reckon. Always handy if you want your astronauts to actually get into the vehicle before blast-off.

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