New Delhi: : Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday informed the Lok Sabha that India will send the first man to space in the next eight years, if all goes well.
Though the Government has not yet sanctioned the prestigious project, as quoted by PTI, Chavan during Question Hour said, "An Indian manned mission (to space) is under preparation. Government has not yet sanctioned the mission. But, plans are being made to send a man to space. That does not necessarily mean sending a man to moon".
He said the project was estimated to cost Rs 9,500 crore.
Chavan also said the Indian space body proposed to launch 12 communication satellites during the 11th Plan period to provide replacements and additional capacity.
He was replying to questions on successful commercial launches of satellites by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
The ISRO, at present, had two firm contracts for launching satellites, he said.
Pointing out that at present 199 transponders were providing services through Indian communication satellites, he said plans were afoot to increase the capacity to 500 transponders.
Observing that the total income from the lease of INSAT transponders was estimated at Rs 400 crore in 2007-08, Chavan said an annual revenue of Rs 1,000 crore was being targeted through commercial use of Indian satellite transponders by the end of the 11th Plan.
He said the PSLV, which recently successfully launched an Italian satellite, was a "rugged and versatile" vehicle. "We had made a very competitive bid and earned a competitive rate of $29,000 per kg".