It's been decades since the global space race was led by the United States. But as Russia, China, Japan, and other countries have made progress in their programs, another country has been making quiet strides as well.
India is going to Venus. That’s the next goal of the Indian Space Research Organization, and there’s a target date: 2023.
Four years ago, India’s space program marked a milestone with a mission to Mars. More recently, its focus has been on satellite launches — with the country marketing itself as a commercial partner for those looking for reliable rockets.
That theme of partnership extends to the Venus mission. India’s Economic Times reports the space agency has “invited proposals from the international scientific community to carry out novel experiments” during the mission.
The spacecraft won’t be landing on Venus — it will merely orbit the planet. Venus has been a target for other explorations since the 1960’s — with missions ranging from fly-bys to landings and other orbiting trips.
The Soviet Union alone undertook 16 Venus missions from 1961 to 1983. The United States was also a frequent visitor, going through 1990 when the agency mapped 98 percent of the planet’s surface over four years.
But there are still lingering questions.
India’s Financial Express quotes the country’s space agency as saying its Venus mission will be carrying at least a dozen scientific payloads.