Gaganyaan: Indian astronauts complete training on crew actions in Russia

ndia's heaviest launch vehicle Bahubali GSLV Mark-III will carry the astronauts to space.
Four Indian Air Force officers selected to be part of the Gaganyaan mission have completed training in Russia on crew actions in the event of an abnormal descent module landing. In a statement, Glavkosmos, a subsidiary of Russian space organisation Roscosmos, said that the officers were in good health and determined to continue with the rest of the module. 

"The Indian cosmonauts are undergoing training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) following the courses of the general space training program and of the systems of the Soyuz MS crewed spacecraft,"  Roscosmos said in a statement. 

The regular courses include medical and physical training, learning Russian (as one of the main international languages of communication in space), and studying the configuration, structure, and systems of the Soyuz crewed spacecraft. 

The training resumed in May after it was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

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"To date, Indian cosmonauts have completed training on crew actions in the event of an abnormal descent module landing in wooded and marshy areas in winter (completed in February 2020), on the water surface (completed in June 2020), in the steppe in summer (completed in July 2020)," Glavkosmos said.

In June 2020, the Indian astronauts-elect passed training in short-term weightlessness mode aboard the IL-76MDK special aircraft, and in July they were trained to lift aboard a helicopter while evacuating from the descent module landing point. The next phase of the course involves training in a centrifuge and in a hyperbaric chamber to prepare for sustaining spaceflight factors, such as G-force, hypoxia, and pressure drops. 

GSLV Mk III- was previously used in the launch of Chandrayaan-2 mission.

"All of the Indian cosmonauts are in good health and are determined to continue their training," Roscosmos added.

The astronauts-elect had begun there training in Russia from February after a contract was signed between Gavkosmos and the Human Spaceflight Centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) in June 2019. The document implies the support of Glavkosmos in the selection of candidates, their medical examination, and various aspects of space training, the statement read.

Glavkosmos, JSC is a subsidiary of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos.

Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space Jitendra Singh had earlier said: "After 11 months of training in Russia, the astronauts will receive module-specific training in India. In that, they will be trained in crew and service module designed by Isro, learn to operate it, work around it and do simulations." 

ISRO Chairman K Sivan addresses a press conference at ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru. | Photo: PTI

The Gaganyaan is a crewed orbital spacecraft expected to carry three astronauts into space for at least seven days. The spacecraft is likely to consist of an Orbital Module which will have a service and a crew module. The Rs 10,000-crore ambitious project is expected to be launched in 2022, the year of the 75th anniversary of India's Independence. India's heaviest launch vehicle Bahubali GSLV Mark-III will carry the astronauts to space.

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