India wants to build its own space station and send astronauts to the moon by 2040

India has announced plans to build its own space station by 2035, and carry out a human mission to the moon five years later. The country has ramped up its space program in recent years, becoming the first in the world to successfully land a spacecraft near the lunar south pole just this past August. Shortly after, in September, it launched a probe to study the sun. But, human spaceflight is new territory. Its upcoming Gaganyaan mission will be the first time India has sent astronauts to space using its own capabilities, and it’s now gearing up to start testing the vehicles that will support a human crew.

In a meeting led by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the country’s space agency laid out a plan to achieve its first crewed launch in 2025 ahead of its eventual moon mission. It has a demonstration flight of its Crew Escape System Test Vehicle currently set for Oct 21, and will later send its launch vehicle on three test missions without humans on board. All in all, India is planning around 20 tests in the leadup to sending astronauts to space.

The country says it’s building a new launch pad and a next generation launch vehicle to make its admittedly “ambitious” other goals possible. In addition to establishing the Bharatiya Antariksha Station — or the Indian Space Station — by 2035 and launching a crewed mission to the moon by 2040, India also has its sights on interplanetary missions. Modi expressed interest in the development of a Venus orbiter and a Mars lander, too.

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