Russia will help India build a manned spaceship and send an Indian astronaut to space under a 10-year cooperation programme.

New Delhi had asked Moscow to share with it the technologies to build a manned spacecraft and take an Indian astronaut aboard a Soyuz, chief of the Piloted Programmes of Roskosmos Alexei Krasnov told reporters on Wednesday.

The spaceship would be modelled after the Soyuz craft, but it would be smaller to match the lighter Indian boosters. “It is not surprising that India has turned to Russia for help in its space programme as we have been cooperating since the 1980s. Our new programme will extend to 2020.”

India’s first astronaut Rakesh Sharma travelled to space aboard a Soyuz in 1984.

He spent eight days on the Salyut-7 orbital station and did various scientific experiments. Subsequent plans to send two Indian astronauts to space on a U.S. shuttle were scrapped after the Challenger disaster in 1986.