Astronauts from India, also called Gaganauts, have left for India after undergoing training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia. The Executive Director for Piloted Space Programs Sergei Krikalyov of the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos told the press, “The Indian cosmonauts completed training in Russia quite recently and we saw them off when they were leaving home after wrapping up the training course.” Four Indian astronaut candidates had begun their training in Russia from February 2020.
Scheduled for 2022, the Gaganyaan mission is expected to carry three Indian astronauts to space, who will be picked from among the test pilots in the Indian armed forces.
Earlier, the Indian astronauts had successfully completed the study of the systems of a manned Soyuz MS spacecraft at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. They have wrapped up the training as per the schedule.
India has been readying for its first manned space mission since nearly a decade and a half. The first flight of the main component of the mission, the Space Capsule Recovery Experiment, took place on January 10, 2007. The launch was conducted using the PSLV C7 rocket.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Roscosmos and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on joint work in the field of manned programs in New Delhi on 5 December 2008. Other than training, the Russians are supplying parts to the Gaganyaan crew module.
On 1 July 2019, Roscosmos announced that its subsidiary Glavkosmos and the Human Space Flight Center of the Indian Space Research Organization had signed a contract on assistance in the medical check-up and training of Indian astronauts.
The Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Center is named after Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, the Russian cosmonaut who was the first human to fly 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.