India's timeline and ambitions for Lunar Exploration 2020 to 2030

India's Timeline and Ambitions for Lunar Exploration

At MilkyWayEconomy we are bullish on India’s odds of winning the 5th Industrial Revolution. To that end, below is a L1 perspective of where India’s space program is, how it got there and where its headed over the next decade or so. Enjoy and remember, this is for educational purposes only. This is not investor advice.

George and Samson


India's space program, led by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has outlined a comprehensive and ambitious roadmap for lunar exploration over the past decade. This includes various missions and strategic goals aimed at lunar landings, lunar satellites, sample missions, and future human and base missions on the moon.

Key Announcements and Milestones

Lunar Landings

  • Chandrayaan-1 (2008): India's first lunar mission, which discovered evidence of water on the moon.
  • Chandrayaan-2 (2019): Aimed to land on the moon's south pole. The orbiter remains operational and continues to send valuable data despite the lander's crash.
  • Chandrayaan-3 (2023): Successfully landed on the lunar south pole, making India the first nation to achieve this feat. The mission includes the Pragyan rover, which is studying the lunar surface.

Lunar Satellites

  • Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter: Continues to function, providing high-definition imagery and data on the lunar surface's mineralogy and exosphere.

Lunar Sample Missions

  • Lunar Polar Exploration Mission (Chandrayaan-4): Scheduled for the mid-2020s, this mission will involve collaboration with JAXA to further investigate the lunar south pole and potentially return samples.

Lunar Sample Return

While India has not yet announced a specific lunar sample return mission, future iterations of the Chandrayaan series and collaborations with international space agencies could include such objectives.

Human Lunar Missions

Gaganyaan Mission: Set for 2025-2026, this will be India's first manned space mission, aiming to send Indian astronauts into space. Success in this mission will lay the groundwork for potential future manned lunar missions.

Lunar Base Ambitions

Long-Term Vision: India plans to establish a space station by 2035, which could support long-term lunar exploration and the establishment of a lunar base. This is part of ISRO's broader strategy to enhance its capabilities in space exploration and leverage the scientific, economic, and security benefits of space.

Strategic Objectives

India's lunar exploration program not only seeks to advance scientific knowledge but also aims to drive technological innovation, foster international collaborations, and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. By methodically building on each mission's successes and lessons learned, India is steadily positioning itself as a significant player in international space exploration efforts.


For further reading and detailed updates, you can explore the following sources:

- [](

- [Nature](

- [ISRO Official Website](

About the Researchers

George S. Pullen and Samson Williams are founders of Milky Way Economy, a Washington, DC based think tank who specialize in understanding the economic foundations of the Fifth Industrial Revolution and the Space Economy. In addition to writing, researching and being investors in 5th Industrial Revolution companies, Samson and George are adjunct professors at the University of New Hampshire School of Law and instructors at Columbia University in NYC. Additionally, George is a Marine (former) and guest lecturer at the National Defense University.