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Chandrayaan-1 was launched in October 2008 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, about 100 kilometres north of Chennai, India. ((Indian Space Research Organization/Associated Press))

India has announced plans to put two astronauts into Earth orbit in 2016, which would make it the fourth country to put a manned mission to space.

The India Space Research Organization is seeking 124 billion rupees ($2.8 billion Cdn) for the seven-day mission.

"We are preparing for the manned space flight," ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan told reporters.

"We will design and develop the space module for the manned mission in the next four years."

ISRO spokesman S. Satish told The Associated Press that the government has already provided about four billion rupees ($92 million Cdn) for initial research on the mission.

ISRO said it will soon begin training of its astronauts for the space flight at a new facility in Bangalore.

Only Russia, the U.S. and China have their own independent human space-flight programs. The European Union, Iran and Japan have all announced plans for human space flight in the 2020s.

India's first unmanned mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-1, was launched in October 2008, and its instruments were used to find water in the lunar soil.

Chandrayaan-1 put India in an elite group of countries with mission to the moon, which includes the U.S., Russia, Japan, China and the countries of the European Space Agency.

The mission had to be abandoned in August because of a communications failure with the satellite.

In September, ISRO launched seven satellites on one rocket.

A second unmanned lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, is scheduled for early 2013. India also has plans for a mission to Mars in 2030.

With files from The Associated Press.