India reveals plan to launch astronauts onto the Moon after successful Chandrayaan-3 mission to secret south pole | The Sun

INDIA has announced ambitious plans to return to the Moon with astronauts by 2040 following its successful Chandrayaan-3 mission.

In August, the country made history by becoming the first nation to land near the Moon's South Pole with its Chandrayaan-3 craft. 

The success makes India the fourth country to have achieved a soft landing on the Moon.

It was India’s second try at a moon landing, following the Chandrayaan-2 attempt in 2019 which crashed into the lunar surface.

But space chiefs said they learnt a lot from previous missions, as they awaited the Chandrayaan-3 landing.

Now, India's government plans to put boots on the moon by 2040, as the United States' Nasa plots a crewed lunar landing in 2025.



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India's delayed Gaganyaan human spaceflight programme is now aiming to fly three astronauts to low Earth orbit in 2025.

This means the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will be undergoing three uncrewed missions to test the launch vehicle from now until the end of next year.  

India has also announced it hopes to build an Earth-orbiting space station by 2035, similar to China's Tiangong orbital post.

It comes as the International Space Station heads slowly towards its retirement in 2031.

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India's space station is due to arrive part way through the 2030s.

It will be able to house 15 astronauts for up to 20 days at a time, K. Sivan, former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), said in January last year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has "directed that India should now aim for new and ambitious goals," according to an official statement. 

India's future moon exploration efforts will include a series of additional robotic Chandrayaan missions, a new launch pad and a heavy-lift launch vehicle, the statement added. 

Modi has also called on Indian scientists to work towards interplanetary missions, including a Venus Orbiter Mission and a Mars Lander.

However, these missions to more distant planets are further down the pipeline.

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