Indian Space Budget Boost Supports Existing Programs

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BANGALORE, India — The Indian government has allotted 66 billion rupees ($1.45 billion) for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in the 2011-2012 budget presented to the parliament Feb. 28, a spending plan that represents a significant increase over the last fiscal year but contains no new program starts.

“It is a 36 percent increase over last year’s budget but lower than expected,” ISRO spokesman S. Satish told Space News.

Given India’s 8 percent inflation rate, the money is enough to keep the current programs going and no new projects are being taken up, he said.

According to budget documents, 40 billion rupees has been earmarked for satellite and launch vehicle development. Included in that account is 660 million rupees for development activities related to India’s human spaceflight ambitions.

Space science projects, including atmospheric and climate change studies, will receive 3.5 billion rupees. Of that total, 800 million is allocated to Chandrayaan-2, a lunar exploration mission being developed jointly with Russia and slated to launch in 2013.

Space applications, including natural resource management and tele-education, will receive 8.5 billion rupees for the fiscal year, while the remaining ISRO funds are to be used mostly for operating the Insat communications satellite system.