Gaganyaan: Training of astronauts to start this month

Gaganyaan: Training of Indian astronauts to start this month

Representative image. (AFP photo)

The 11-month long training programme for four Indian astronauts in Russia would begin this month, union minister Jitender Singh said here on Wednesday.

“Gaganyaan astronauts will start their training this month, most likely in the third week of January. The four astronauts, shortlisted for the mission, will receive training for 11 months. All of them are men but their identity can't be revealed,” Singh, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister, Office who looks after space and atomic energy departments, said in a statement.

The Union Cabinet in December 2018 approved Rs 9,023 crore for India's first human spaceflight programme in which a spacecraft with Indian astronauts would be sent to a low-earth orbit. ISRO's heavy-duty GSLV Mk-III rocket would be used to ferry the astronauts.

After 11 months of training in Russia, the astronauts would receive module-specific training in India, during which they would be trained in crew and service module designed by ISRO. They would learn how to operate it, work around it and carry out simulations, he said.

According to the plans drawn up by the Indian Space Research Organisation, it will take about 16 minutes for Indian astronauts to reach the low earth orbit at an altitude of 400 km, where they would spend a week carrying out micro-gravity experiments before returning to the Earth in their crew module that would splash down in the Arabian Sea.

ISRO has designed and developed the crew module and technologies that are required for the escape system, payload recovery, life support and keeping the astronauts safe in zero gravity conditions. All such technologies need to be tested repeatedly to make them fail-proof.

So far, the only Indian astronaut was Sq Leader Rakesh Sharma, who in April 1984 flew to space in the Soviet shuttle Soyuz T 11 to Salyut 7 space station.

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