IAF to train 10 astronauts for Isro's manned space mission
11 February 2019
The India Air Force (IAF) will undertake the selection and training of 10 crew members for the planned human spaceflight programme of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), Gaganyaan.
A report in The Times of India quoting Isro chairman K Sivan said the first two levels of training will happen at the IAF’s Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) in Bengaluru, after which Isro will finalise three members for the maiden space journey.
IAM, which is affiliated to the Armed Forces Medical Services, is the only institute in India and South East Asia that conducts research in aerospace medicine. It also trains airmen and pilots. Earlier known as Institute of Aviation Medicine, the institute had earlier provided medical support to the Indo-Soviet manned space flight programme in 1980s.
“Since the infrastructure such as simulators at IAM is one of the best in the country, Isro wants to join hands with IAM to train the crew members of Gaganyaan mission,” agency reports quoted Bipin Puri, director general, Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS), assaying.
“We have fixed all criteria and requirements for crew selection and training and submitted the same to the IAF. The air force has now been given the full task of selection and training of the crew. The first two levels of training of the crew will happen at the IAF’s Institute of Aerospace Medicine (Bengaluru) and the final phase of training will be abroad,” the report quoted Isro chairman K Sivan as saying.
The Isro chairman said they have two-three countries like Russia and France in mind, but “no final call has been taken yet”.
Isro had inaugurated the Human Space Flight Centre at the agency headquarters in Bengaluru on 30 January. The centre will be responsible for the implementation of the Gaganyaan project, which involves end-to-end mission planning and development of engineering systems for crew survival in space. The centre will also pursue activities for sustained human space flight missions.
To avoid the risk of endangering human lives, Isro will conduct two unmanned missions before the final mission and will carry humanoids (a robot resembling a human being). “The first unmanned test-flight will be in December 2020. The second unmanned test will be conducted in July 2021 and finally the human space flight will be launched in December 2021,” Times quoted Sivan as saying in an earlier report.
The union cabinet had cleared Rs10,000 crore for the project in December 2018. Till date, Isro has spent Rs173 crore in developing critical technologies for the human space flight. These include a crew module (CM), crew escape system (CES) and environmental control and life support system (ECLSS). It has also developed the space suit for astronauts.
Meanwhile, Isro is developing an advanced version of the GSLV-MkIII for the Gaganyaan project.