Four Indian astronauts currently being trained at Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia for the Gaganyaan mission have gone into self-isolation over fears of Covid-19.
According to reports, this is a precautionary step following the discovery of nine coronavirus cases in the Russian space agency, Hindustan Times reported quoting key sources. Dmitry Rogozin, director-general of Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency confirmed that nine of its employees had been infected by the coronavirus.
Earlier, as EurAsian Times reported, the training of Gaganyaan’s four astronauts in Russia has been put on hold as the facility where the exercise is being undertaken has been temporarily closed due to Covid-19 pandemic, ANI quoted some sources.
“As part of international cooperation, four representatives of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) are beginning their training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center on February 10, 2020, as candidates for a space flight.”
All the candidates for Mission Gangayaan have served as fighter jet pilots in the Indian Air Force. They were selected by ISRO after comprehensive tests and training. However, since last week the center has been shut due to coronavirus outbreak, sources said.
“Our (prospective) astronauts are fine. They are currently in the hostel. We have been told the center will open by the end of the month,” a source said.
When asked whether the suspension of training for nearly four weeks will hurt the training program, the sources added that although the training program spans over 12 months, they had kept a buffer of three months to factor in exigencies.