, India —

The Indian Space Research Organi

(ISRO) is

set to launch its Chandrayaan-1 mission to the

Moon April 9,

2008, its chairman G. Madhavan Nair announced Sept. 27

in Hyderabad which is hosting the 58th International Astronautical Congress.

Chandrayaan-1, which

carries six foreign payloads, is a good example of international cooperation, said Nair, who also stressed that India has no plans to send a man to the


India does, however, intend to mount a robotic mission to Mars once the project gets approval from the scientific committees. Nair said ISRO’s geostationary satellite launch vehicle in its existing version is capable of putting a 500-kilogram payload in Martian orbit. “We expect our ties with NASA and other agencies will further get closer as we intensify our planetary exploration program.” Nair said India has offered Japan any help required in tracking its lunar orbiter or receiving data that

he said Japan was willing to share with India.

Answering a question about

India’s proposed manned mission to Earth orbit, Nair said that ISRO intended it to be totally indigenous. He said that while Russian modules are available for ISRO’s manned mission “

we want to develop our own technology as in the long run we want to be self reliant.”