A manned Indian mission to space could take place a few years, given the progress that the Indian Space Research Organisation has made in its design and development efforts, ISRO Chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan, has told NDTV.
Key to launching a manned mission would be testing a three person crew capsule - the prototype of which is set to be tested within days, once the indigenous GSLV Mk-III rocket blasts off from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
Dr Radhakrishnan added that ISRO has held discussions on what to call an Indian astronaut but a final decision would be left to the Indian public to decide.
Appearing on a special show, along with all senior members of the entire Mangalyaan (Mars Mission) team, Dr Radhakrishnan said that ISRO had locked in a design of an Indian-made Martian lander and would soon be in a position to build a prototype.
He added that Mangalyaan, the spacecraft which entered the orbit Mars orbit in September, was healthy and is now likely to remain operational for years, well beyond the six to ten months that had once been envisioned. ISRO scientists are looking at data received from the orbiter's sensors and say exciting new discoveries could be announced within two to three months.
This is the first time that the entire ISRO Mangalyaan team has appeared together on any television network.