The four astronauts who have been selected for India’s first Human Space Flight Programme or the Gaganyaan have successfully completed the first semester of crew training.
The candidates who are Indian Air Force (IAF) test pilots have been undergoing Gaganyaan Mission specific training at the Astronaut Training Facility in Bengaluru. According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the first semester of the crew training has been successfully completed and so far 39 weeks of training activities have been completed.
They have been given 218 lectures by both the ISRO and Indian Institute of Science faculty and also undergone 75 physical training sessions. Besides two flying practices comprising 12 hours have been completed along with medical and course evaluations. The four candidates were shortlisted from a dozen pilots following a rigorous selection process. They were sent to Russia in 2020 where they completed generic space flight training at Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre. Upon their return to India in 2021, they have been undergoing training.
The mission specific training in India includes theoretical courses in engineering disciplines and training on Gaganyaan flight systems. It also covers aero-medical training and fitness and recovery and survival training as part of the curriculum. Practical training on simulators and flight procedures will also be imparted, the ISRO said. The theoretical courses on engineering disciplines such as basics of spaceflight, propulsion, aerodynamics, and courses on launch vehicles and spacecraft were conducted.
Physical training, yoga, aero-medical training, and flying practice are being conducted as part of the training curriculum besides virtual reality and independent training simulators were realised for familiarisation with crew module systems. The courses on Gaganyaan flight systems are being conducted, said the space agency.
The Gaganyaan project envisages demonstration of human spaceflight capability by launching a crew of three members to an orbit of 400 km for a three-day mission and bringing them back safely to earth, by landing in Indian sea waters.
The first trial (uncrewed flight) for Gaganyaan is being planned by the end of 2023 or early 2024. This will be followed by sending Vyom Mitra, a humanoid and then with the crew onboard.