Mumbai: The India-Russia joint manned space mission, slated for sometime in 2013, is expected to carry ISRO scientific personnel on board the spacecraft, rather than air force personnel, as in the historic 1984 flight, when then Indian Air Force squadron leader Rakesh Sharma made it to space onboard the Soyuz T-11.
According to ISRO sources, very likely a civilian scientist, or an engineer, will be part of the mission, which will precede the launch of an Indian manned space mission from Sriharikota sometime in the period 2014-15.
There is also an historical precedence to civilian participation with two ISRO scientists, P Radhakrishnan and NC Bhatt, being selected for a space shuttle mission in the 1980s. The space shuttle Challenger disaster on 28 January 1986 put paid to the project. The mission was intended to place an INSAT satellite in orbit.
The prospects of likely Indian cosmonauts who will likely make it to space in 2013 is nowe being discussed in the backdrop of a memorandum of understanding related to the project being signed in New Delhi last week during the visit of Russian president Dmitry Medvedev.
"The person chosen for this mission will undergo training at Star City near Moscow. The advantage of this flight is that it will give us an exposure to various aspects of launching a human space flight, including the critical training aspects. It will go a long way in helping us to plan our manned space programme,'' Isro officials have said.