India's ambitious plan of building a space station is at a nascent stage, and foreign collaborations for it have not yet been finalised, the government said on Wednesday. The space station, which is planned after India's first manned mission to space - Gaganyaan in 2022, will be of modular design, with the initial modules weighing approximately 20 tonnes.
It will have provision for extended stay for three crew members, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh said in an answer to a question in the Lok Sabha.
The space station will provide a research platform in the areas of health, telemedicine, vaccine development, material development, disaster relief, farming, food and water conservation, waste management techniques, environmental research and education programmes.
The government's 'Make in India' initiative will be "a major driver" for the success of the space station programme in the fields of materials, avionics, fabrication, testing as well as integration of flight systems, he said.
The space station will have technologies like an orbital module to ferry crew and a life support system like in the Gaganyaan programme.
Currently, the only operational space station is the International Space Station (ISS) orbiting at an altitude of 400 km. It is operated by five space agencies - NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), CSA (Canada), JAXA (Japan) and the European Space Agency.