Gaganyaan Mission: Indian Air Force shortlists ten future astronauts for India’s manned space mission.
At the end of rigorous training at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM), the Indian Air Force (IAF) has identified at least ten officers out of which two will be the final choice for going on the first manned mission Gaganyaan slated for 2022. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior officer at Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said that “The mission could be a bit delayed as the focus is to find out what went wrong during the Chandrayaan-2 mission. The IAF is the main organisation which is going to do the final selection of the future astronauts.
He also clarified that no one particular has been finalised. “It is all temporary names that you hear. Wait, for the final names which will be announced by the IAF.” The IAF in consultation with ISRO prepared an extensive road map for the selection and training of the future astronauts for the first-ever manned mission from India. And it was decided that only test pilots will be part of the mission combined with their psychological strength.
A top IAF officer confirmed that “Selection process was in three phases, at the end of which ten have been down selected. However, only six will go for advance training to Russia. The selection started with 100 candidates who were identified based on certain QRs which were followed. Only two will be chosen to finally go on the mission.”
To a question about any woman candidate being selected, a senior officer clarified that “There is no woman candidate who has enough experience as a fighter pilot or as a test pilot. Very recently only three women have joined the fighter pilot stream.”
The selection process was based on volunteers as well as those who were selected from amongst the flight engineers, pilots, fighter pilots and test pilots. Earlier this year, both IAF and ISRO signed an MoU for the training of the future astronauts. After IAM, the next phase will be at the space agency’s Human Space Flight Centre. This centre was opened up earlier this year.
For the training in Russia, the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities and ISRO have signed an MoU and will be working together on the first manned space mission.
The final six selected by IAF will be sent to Russia for a short module of training onboard a Soyuz spacecraft.
How were ten down selected?
According to IAF at the IAM, the test pilots had to go through all kinds of tests which included gruelling physical exercises, radiological tests and well as psychological tests.Gaganyaan Manned Mission 2022
The Astronauts will be addressed as “Vyomnauts” . A GSLV MK-III will be used to carry the orbital module. So far, ISRO has said that there will be provisions for carrying provisions for three-member crew, Whether there will be two or three crew, it is not clear yet.
The whole programme is going to cost Rs 10,000 crore. This is expected to include the cost of technology development, and flight hardware and also critical infrastructure elements. So far, ISRO has spent Rs 173 crore in developing major technologies which are needed for human space flight. To accomplish the Gaganyaan Programme Objectives, space agency will collaborate with national agencies, laboratories, academia and industry