A day after the Chandrayaan-3 success, ISRO chairman S Somanath on Thursday confirmed that the country's maiden solar mission Aditya is in the works and will be ready for launch in September.
"Mission 'Aditya' is in the works and will be ready for launch in the first week of September. We are also planning a mission by the end of September or October to demonstrate our crew module and crew escape capability, which will be followed by many test missions until we launch our first manned mission to space (Gaganyaan), possibly by 2025.”
This comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi alluded to future missions to the sun and Venus.
Speaking about the Vikram lander's soft landing on the lunar south pole, he told ANI, "It was a mix of joy, a feeling of accomplishment and gratefulness for all fellow scientists, who contributed to the success of this mission.”
He added that the moon's south pole has the potential for human settlement, which is why the agency made it the preferred landing site for the lander.
"We have gone closer to the south pole, which lies almost 70 degrees from where the lander has been placed. The south pole has a specific advantage with respect to being less illuminated by the sun. There is potential (for human settlement) because of more scientific content (on the south side of the moon). The scientists, who were working on this project, showed a lot of interest in the South Pole as the larger objective is for human beings to set up colonies on the moon and travel beyond. We were looking for the best landing spot, where we could set up colonies in the distant future, and the lunar South Pole fitted the bill," the ISRO chief said.
Speaking on the Pragyan rover, which rolled out of the lander after the successful touchdown on the lunar southside, Somanath said a team will soon start work on a robotic path planning exercise, which will be the key to future explorations into deep space.
"Pragyan rover has two instruments, both of which are related to the elemental composition findings on the moon as well as its chemical compositions. It will also rove the lunar surface. We will also do a robotic path planning exercise, which will be the key to future explorations into deep space," the ISRO chief said.
-- with inputs from agencies