Gaganyaan news: There is no woman officer who has been selected, as there are no women test pilots nor those in the fighter stream have enough experience as they have recently joined.
The selection process for the future astronauts ‘Gagan-nauts’ for the Human Space Flight programme under the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) underway says a top official of the Indian Air Force (IAF). There is no woman officer who has been selected, as there are no women test pilots nor those in the fighter stream have enough experience as they have recently joined. Therefore, there will be no woman on-board the first manned mission Gaganyaan flight which has been scheduled in 2021-22.
According to the new Air Chief RKS Bhadauria, “The IAF is actively involved in the screening, selection, initial training, pre-flight post-flight health management and safety aspects of the Gagan-nauts.”
Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) of the IAF is the nodal agency for aeromedical aspects and vital crew healthcare management activities for the Human Space Programme.
It is a complicated selection process which has been planned by both the IAF and ISRO and involves intensive tests including psychological strength. Those who will be eventually shortlisted will be a combination of test pilots and those who clear the grueling physical exercises, radiological tests and psychological tests.
There was a combination of candidates who were initially shortlisted which included test pilots, volunteers as well as fighter pilots. The selection process has been divided into three phases and at the end of this process only 10-12 has made the cut and finally, only six are likely to go to Russia for the training.
Both IAF and ISRO have signed an MoU earlier this year for training of the future astronauts. And IAF has been ensuring that the selection is done carefully. Once the selected pilots clear the IAM stage, they will go to the ISRO’s Human Space Flight Centre which was inaugurated earlier this year.
According to officials, for the final stage, the six selected will leave for the Russia leg of the training on-board a Soyuz spacecraft. Both ISRO and the Russian space agency Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities have an MoU for working jointly on the first manned space mission.
The final six selected by IAF will be sent to Russia for a short module of training on-board a Soyuz spacecraft.