Who will be India’s first `Vyomnauts’? Know how India will select astronauts for first manned space mission

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Updated: February 25, 2019 7:34:26 PM

The Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities and Indian Space Research Organisation will be working together on the first manned space mission.

Vyomnauts, india first Vyomnauts, Anil Khosla, ISRO, International Space Station, narendra modi, human space missionThe mission is expected to take off in 2022. Talking to Financial Express Online, IAF’s Vice-Chief Air Marshal Anil Khosla said that, “The astronauts will undergo rigorous training at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) which has in place a system for training.”

In consultation with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Indian Air Force has prepared a draft road map which has the time lines and selection process for the astronauts for the first manned mission Gaganyaan in 2022. The mission is expected to take off in 2022. Talking to Financial Express Online, IAF’s Vice-Chief Air Marshal Anil Khosla said that, “The astronauts will undergo rigorous training at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) which has in place a system for training.”

There will be three phases of selection of the possible candidates before down selecting a final number of six astronauts who will then go for advance training to Russia, explained a senior IAF officer.

“The process for selection will start soon where certain QRs are to be followed. Then the numbers will narrow down to thirty. Then they will be put through to other rigorous training out of which ten will make the cut before the final selection of six,” Khosla explained.

“Finally, there will be just six. Three will be on a standby,” he added.

The Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities and Indian Space Research Organisation will be working together on the first manned space mission. The Russian side has offered a ride to Indian astronauts for a short visit to International Space Station (ISS) on board a Soyuz spacecraft for a training mission in 2022.

The Russian side had made this offer when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladmir Putin had during discussion talked about space cooperation too at the Indo-Russia annual summit last October.

Prime Minister Modi had said in his Independence Day address 2018, that there is a scope for further expanding the scope for cooperation with Russia.

And, it was in this context that Russia made this offer when external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had visited Russia last year to co-chair the 23rd India-Russia Inter- Governmental Commission on Technical & Economic Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC), and Yuri Borisov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.

The ISS is a habitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. If successful, India would be the fourth nation to send a human in space in their own modules after the US, Russia and China.

Rakesh Sharma, a former Indian Air Force pilot, was the first Indian to travel to space. He was part of the Soviet Union’s Soyuz T-11 expedition, launched on April 2, 1984, as part of the Intercosmos programme.

As has been reported earlier, Russia is planning to set up ground base stations in India for receiving communication signals of GLONASS. Similarly, ISRO will be allowed to set up IRNSS (now called NavIC) ground stations in Russia.

The Gaganyaan Programme with demonstration of Indian Human Spaceflight capability to low earth orbit for mission duration will range from one orbital period to a maximum of seven days.

Gaganyaan Manned Mission 2022

  • India plans to call its astronauts “Vyomnauts
  • A human-rated Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV MK-III) will be used to carry the orbital module
  • It will have the necessary provisions for sustaining a 3 member crew for the duration of the mission
  • The total fund requirement for the programme is Rs 10,000 crore
  • It will include the cost of technology development, flight hardware realization and essential infrastructure elements
  • ISRO has spent Rs 173 crore in developing critical technologies needed for the for human space flight
  • The necessary infrastructure will be established to support the Gaganyaan Programme
  • ISRO will collaborate with national agencies, laboratories, academia and industry to accomplish the Gaganyaan Programme Objectives
  • The first mission is expected to be launched within 40 months
  • As per the plans outlined there will be two unmanned flights and one human flight where technology developed in India will be used to put three humans into a low earth orbit for 5-7 days
  • ISRO has been testing and mastering the art of making a spacesuit which will be used by Indian astronauts on their mission
  • The design work relating to the proposed manned mission is underway and will be finalised soon
  • A new Centre – Human Space Flight Centre is formed and will be the lead Centre for the overall management and realization of this mission.
  • The design for crew module which will carry the astronauts and crew service module will be finalised soon

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