By Alison Fox
January 02, 2020

Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Kailasavadivoo Sivan at a press conference announcing ISRO's plans for 2020 including the progress in 'Chandrayaan 3' moon mission and 'Gaganyaan' mission for putting an Indian astronaut into space, during a press conference. 

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India is preparing to send astronauts into space, which, if successful, would make them the fourth country in the world to do so.

A total of four candidates from the country have been chosen for the first manned mission, which is planned for 2022, NPR reported on Wednesday. The candidates are expected to start training in Russia in a few weeks.

India has been working on a spacecraft called Gaganyaan, which translates to "sky vehicle" in Sanskrit. The vehicle would be capable of sending two to three people into space to orbit the earth for a weeklong flight.

So far, only the U.S., Russia and China have sent people into space, according to NPR.

K Sivan, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, told CNN Business the country was making "good progress" toward putting humans into space.

In addition to the manned flight, Sivan told NPR the agency has received government approval for a robotic moon mission, expected to launch next year. For that mission, India will use a lander and a rover.

That mission follows last year’s unsuccessful attempt to land a solar-powered rover on the moon. Following that failed mission, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to learn from what happened.

"We will look back at the journey and effort with great satisfaction," Modi said at the time. "The learnings from today will make us stronger and better. There will be a new dawn and a brighter tomorrow very soon."

India has previously had success in space, including a 2008 mission in which the country placed a spacecraft around the moon in orbit, as well as a mission in which a probe deliberately crashed on the moon, releasing material that helped prove water ice existed on the moon.

In 2014, India placed a satellite around Mars.

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