The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will receive 57.78 billion rupees ($1.25 billion) for 2010 — a 38 percent increase over last year — under the budget approved Feb. 26 by India’s Parliament.

The bulk of the funding, some 21 billion rupees, will go to launch vehicle technology development, while satellite technology development will receive 10 billion rupees, a 45 percent increase over the 2009 level.

ISRO’s manned space program will receive 1.4 billion rupees for the new budget year, which begins April 1, to continue development of a space vehicle designed to carry two astronauts to a 400-kilometer orbit and return them safely to Earth, according to ISRO documents.

ISRO spokesman S. Satish said Feb. 26 that the money will permit the space agency to begin preliminary research and development activities leading to detailed definition of the manned mission.

Other ISRO budget highlights include:

  • 2.5 billion rupees for continued development of a so-called semi-cryogenic rocket that will use kerosene fuel.
  • 1 billion rupees for Chandraayan-2, a follow-on to India’s recently completed lunar orbiter mission that will be conducted jointly with Russia.
  • Continued funding for Aditya, a sun-observing satellite slated for launch in 2012 and billed as India’s first space-based solar coronagraph.