The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has decided to go with Russian Glavkosmos for the astronaut training programme for the proposed Gaganyaan mission. ISRO Chairman, K Sivan told TOI earlier that the space agency would most likely pick Russia as its partner in astronaut training. This comes in lieu with their previous collaborations when Russia took Rakesh Sharma to space and their continued work with Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM).
The space agencies of the US and France were also in contention for this contract This decision comes at a juncture when the US and India are at loggerheads with Russia over defence contracts.
Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian to travel in space, stated to TOI that it was a logical step to work with Russia on the Gaganyaan training schedules owing to the history of collaborations with the country. Rakesh Sharma is also a member on the National Advisory Council (NAC).
The first deputy general of Galvkosmos (a subsidiary of Roscosmos State Corporation), Natalia Lokteya is said to have signed a contract with the Director of Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) of ISRO, S Unnikrishnan Nair. The work will be conducted under the purview of the Federal State Budget Organisation, UA Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Centre and the Institute of Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The HSFC was established to develop and maintain life support systems, engage in crew training and plan for future missions under Gaganyaan.
“As part of the documents we had given IAF we had described the kind of requirement and involvement of foreign agencies for training and so on… The training will be at three levels. After the rigorous selection progress, two levels of training will be done at IAM and the third level will be done abroad. Simulation of the real space environment, parabolic flights and training in the spacecraft et al will be done abroad,” Sivan had earlier told TOI.
In an official statement by Glavkosmos, the agency confirmed that the contract was signed between the two parties on Monday. The agency also confirmed that it would aid and assist the HSFC with the selection of candidates, medical examinations, access to space flight training programmes. The space training programme would only be accessible to the Indian astronauts based on medical examinations.
Originally Reported By Times of India. Edited By The EurAsian Times