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India's first human space mission not to be affected by COVID: minister

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-06-30 14:34

NEW DELHI -- India's first manned space mission "Gaganyaan," planned for 2022, will take place on schedule and won't be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister for Atomic Energy and Space Jitendra Singh said.

According to a statement issued by the Department of Space on Monday evening, the minister said though the training of four Indian astronauts in Russia had to be halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there had been kept a "cushion" both in the training program and the launch deadline.

The training of astronauts has been resumed, and the launch is scheduled to take place as planned before the 75th anniversary of India's independence in August 2022, he said.

Elaborating on the cabinet decision to encourage private participation in the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) activities, Singh said that a regulatory body called "Indian National Space Promotion & Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe)" is to be established.

This new authority would help provide a level playing field to private players and encourage their participation, he added.

With regard to the lunar mission "Chandrayaan-3," the minister said it is planned for launch next year. This mission will involve a lander, rover and a propulsion system to carry the modules to move but it would not have orbiter as the previous orbiter is fully operational, he added.

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