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India Approves Its First Manned Exploration of Space


India's top scientists have approved an ambitious plan to undertake the country's first indigenous manned space exploration within the next decade.

The Indian Research Space Organization says the scientists on Tuesday agreed on a proposal to send an astronaut into space by 2014.

The agency says the scientists, meeting in the southern technology hub of Bangalore, were unanimous in suggesting that the time is right for such a mission.

The proposal has to be presented to India's government for approval and funding.

A spokesman for the space agency said the scientists also discussed a manned mission to the Moon by 2020.

India already has plans to send its first unmanned mission to the Moon by 2008.

In 1984, air force pilot Rakesh Sharma became the first Indian to spend time in space. He traveled on a Soviet spacecraft.

Information for this report is provided by reuters, ndtv, pti, dnaindia, timesnow and gulf-times

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