India will establish its own space station within seven years, marking its biggest leap so far in space exploration after launching probes to the Moon and Mars, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K Sivan has said.

Along with India’s Minister of State for Department of Space Jitendra Singh, Sivan has said that the project would be an extension of Gaganyaan, the country’s first manned mission slated for early 2022.

The space station will be much smaller than the International Space Station (ISS) and will be launched as a small module. The project would be executed after five to seven years and costs have not been estimated.

The 360t ISS is the only space station with a human crew and the Indian space station will be put in a similar orbit at 400km above the Earth’s surface.

Sivan said: “We don’t want to be part of the International Space Station, therefore we want to set up our own.

“Our station won’t be very big. It will have a mass of 20t and be used for studies, including microgravity tests. It will have provision for people to live for 15-20 days.”

ISRO is also working on a space docking experiment (Spadex), which is essential for making the space station functional. Spadex allows the transfer of humans from one spacecraft to another, although the immediate goal will be to enable refuelling and the transfer of other systems from Earth to the station.

Referring to the Gaganyaan mission, Sivan said that shortlisted astronauts will be sent abroad for advanced training as there is no time to establish the training centre in India.

Jitendra Singh said that the Indian crew will be shortlisted in six weeks and training will be completed in a year or two.

Known as Chandrayaan 2, India’s second Moon mission has three modules, namely the Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and the Rover (Pragyan).

ISRO plans to launch the mission on its GSLV-MkIII rocket on 15 July, with the Moon landing expected on 6 or 7 September.

Final tests on the Orbiter’s antennae are being conducted before it is shipped to Sriharikota for the launch next month.

Sivan also said that India will be part of international collaborations to send humans to the Moon and Mars, as well as colonise the Moon.