ISRO, Russia's Glavkosmos sign contract to train astronauts for Gaganyaan mission

Glavkosmos will lend ISRO support with astronaut selection, medical tests for spaceflight & the spaceflight training itself.

In the last week of June, India signed a deal with a Russian organisation to help train Indian astronauts ahead of the upcoming manned mission to orbit, Gaganyaan.

As part of the mission, the Indian Space Research Organisation has decided to send three astronauts on a life-supporting GSLV-MkIII rocket into low-Earth orbit. If all goes to plan, the astronauts will spend a total of seven days in orbit performing a range of experiments before returning home.

Also Read: ISRO, Air Force join hands to select and train 3-member crew for Gaganyaan mission

Now, Russian agency Glavkosmos, led by state-run Roscosmos State Corporation, has taken on training of astronauts for the missions as well as support in medical examinations and the selection procedure itself.

 ISRO, Russias Glavkosmos sign contract to train astronauts for Gaganyaan mission

Glavkosmos's First deputy Director General Natalia Lokteva and Director of Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) ISRO, Dr S Unnikrishnan Nair, shake hands after having signed the contract. Image courtesy: Glavkosmos

This is far from the first time ISRO and Russia have worked together on a space mission. The first Indian to go to space, Rakesh Sharma, did so aboard a Russian Soyuz mission (T-11). Now a part of the National Advisory Council advising ISRO on the Gaganyaan mission, he expressed support for the partnership with Russia to the Times of India in a report. Dr K Sivan, Chairman of ISRO, too, admitted that this past relationship between the countries made the choice a lot easier.

And yes, ISRO did have choices. Both, the American and French space agencies offered to support astronaut training for the Gaganyaan mission, according to an official statement, but ISRO eventually picked Russia’s Glavkosmos.

Glavkosmos's deputy director general, Natalia Loktevaand and S Unnikrishnan Nair, director of ISRO's Human Spaceflight Programme, met and signed the contract for the partnership on 27 June.

As part of the agreement, Glavkosmos will render their consulting support in matters of candidate selection for the astronauts, medical tests for access to spaceflight-related training and training for spaceflight itself.

Also read: What will it take for the world to agree on a policy for peace in outer space?

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