India’s lockdown relaxation is extending towards different projects, including the ISRO Gaganyaan mission. The four astronauts who were handpicked for India’s first manned space project have resumed their training in Russia. The training sessions were earlier put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ISRO’s Human Spaceflight Center and the Glavkosmos of Russia had signed a contract to train the Indian astronauts. In due course, the training began in Russia on February 10, just ahead of the global pandemic. As the outbreak spread, the training was paused by the end of March and a lockdown was imposed. Since then, the Indian astronauts were kept under careful observation.
ISRO Gaganyaan Mission Training Resumes
The latest update comes from Russia, where Roscosmos said in a statement, “Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) on May 12 resumed training of the Indian cosmonauts under the contract between Glavkosmos, JSC (part of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos) and the Human Spaceflight Center of the Indian Space Research Organisation.”
The four candidates currently training in Russia are handpicked from the Indian Air Force fighter pilots and are potential candidates for the Gaganyaan mission. A tweet from Roscosmos also includes an image of one of these candidates in a spacesuit bearing an Indian flag.
Центр подготовки космонавтов возобновил тренировки индийских космонавтов — https://t.co/Yvo693qLUv
🧑🚀🇮🇳 На этой неделе начались теоретические занятия с индийскими космонавтами по основам астронавигации, основам управления пилотируемым космическим аппаратом и русскому языку pic.twitter.com/zXEzSlm22T
— РОСКОСМОС (@roscosmos) May 22, 2020
Roscosmos Observing Strict Regulations
The partnership between the Indian Space Research Organization and Russia’s Roscosmos is pivotal for the Gaganyaan mission. Furthermore, it was reported that all four Indian trainees were in good health. It was noted that GCTC would continue to observe anti-epidemic regulations while upholding sanitary and hygienic measures throughout the facilities.
Roscosmos has also ensured to maintain social distancing measures. Any presence of unauthorized persons is restricted; and also all employees and cosmonauts must wear medical masks and gloves. With all these regulations in place, GCTC specialists are also providing theoretical classes on the basics of astrogation, manned spacecraft control, and also Russian language to the Indian astronauts.
The ISRO Gaganyaan Mission is an ambitious project with Rs. 10,000 crore budget. The mission is expected to lift off in 2022, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Indian independence. The training in Russia is a crucial aspect of the mission, where they would be trained in crew and service module designed by ISRO, learn to operate it, work around it, and do simulations.
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