Gaganyaan: SRO, IAF ink pact for astronaut training

The Indian Air Force and the Indian Space Research Organisation signed an MoU on Wednesday for getting Indian astronauts trained for ISRO’s Gaganyaan.

The development formally involves IAF’s Bengaluru-based medical arm, the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM), in the programme as the nodal centre to train the first set of Indian astronauts.

The ₹10,000-crore Gaganyaan is planned for 2022, the 75th year of Indian independence.

ISRO chairman K. Sivan, who was present at the event, said from Delhi: “This is the formal beginning of the screening and training of IAF candidates for the human space mission. We, that is ISRO and the IAF, will do it together.” It would be a long process taking about one and a half years – until roughly the end of 2020.

ISRO has suggested that eventually 10 candidates be trained and kept ready for the space travel. Finally three astronauts are planned to circle Earth for about seven days from a distance of 400 km.

Cost not known

Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Space), Air Vice-Marshal R.G.K. Kapoor, handed over the document to Gaganyaan’s Project Director R. Hutton, IAF tweeted in the evening. The cost of the training was not immediately available.

Part of the training would take place outside the country. At least three experts – Russia, the US and France – have voiced their interest in preparing Indian astronauts at their facilities.

Dr. Sivan said: “We have not decided this part yet and are discussing with these countries.”

A similar agreement has already been signed with Defence Research and Development Organisation. ISRO would use the human science related technologies and products of DRDO’s bioscience laboratories, Dr. Sivan said. The Defence Bio-Engineering & Electro Medical Laboratory in Bengaluru and the Defence Food Research Labs in Mysuru are being mentioned in this context.

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2020 1:09:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/isro-iaf-formalise-gaganyaan-astronaut-training-pact/article27297961.ece

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