Four representatives of India are beginning their training program at Russia’s Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in the Star City on February 10, the Center said in a statement on Monday.
"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," the statement says.
All the candidates have served as fighter aircraft pilots in the Indian Air Force. They have been selected by India’s national space agency after serious tests, according to the statement.
"The general program of the Indian candidates’ training, which will last one year, envisages comprehensive and bio-medical preparations with regular physical exercises and the study of the manned Soyuz spacecraft’s systems," the Center specified.
Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center Head Pavel Vlasov said he was confident that the Indian candidates’ vast experience of learning to operate aircraft would enable them to successfully cope with the task of studying the spacecraft. He emphasized that the Russian side would do everything possible to ensure that the stay of Indian candidates at the Cosmonaut Training Center would be maximally comfortable and effective.
During their training, the Indian candidates will practice operations during an emergency landing of a descent capsule in various climatic and geographic conditions, will undergo flights aboard an Il-76MDK plane that will simulate short-term zero gravity modes and other types of emergency training. They will undergo the larger part of their training at the Cosmonaut Training Center.
Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos announced on July 1, 2019 that its division Glavkosmos and the ISRO’s Human Space Flight Center signed a contract on the consultative support for the selection, medical examination and training of Indian astronauts.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in August 2018 that his country would independently send the first national crew into orbit by 2022 when the country celebrates the 75th anniversary of its independence. So far, the flight is scheduled for the end of 2021. Before that, two spaceships are expected to be launched in their uncrewed version. The first Indian manned mission is called Gaganyan (from the Sanskrit word ‘gagana’ - the sky), i.e. the sky vehicle.