Indian "gaganauts" selected for the country's first manned space mission in 2022 will start their training sessions at Russia's Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center next year, a senior Russian space official said here on Monday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that Russia will train the Indian astronauts for India's ambitious Gaganyaan manned space mission. Scheduled for 2022, the mission is expected to carry three astronauts, who will be picked from among the test pilots in the Indian armed forces.
Russia will help train Indian astronauts for the Gaganyaan project, Modi said during a joint press meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin after their talks in the Far East Russian city of Vladivostok on September 4.
"The education and training of gaganauts (astronauts) at the Cosmonaut Training Centre are planned to start already next year but this largely depends on the results of the selection by health parameters and the timeframe for the Indian side to decide whom they finally select and send to Russia for training," Head of Glavcosmos (part of the Roscosmos space agency) Dmitry Loskutov told Tass news agency at the 'Dubai Airshow 2019' on Monday.
India intends to develop its own manned programme, he said, adding that the flight by an Indian astronaut to the International Space Station is not planned so far.
On July 1, Roscosmos announced that Glavcosmos and the Human Space Flight Center of the Indian Space Research Organisation had signed a contract on assistance in the medical check-up and training of Indian astronauts.
Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin announced on August 22 that Russian specialists from the Cosmonaut Training Center would select the first group of astronauts in India this autumn, the official Russian news agency reported.
The Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Center is named after Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, the Russian cosmonaut who became the first human to journey into outer space. The facility was built to support manned space programmes, space exploration activities, astronauts' training as well as ensuring their safety in space.