Practical training of Indian astronauts for Gaganyaan halted
NEW DELHI [Maha Media]: The practical training of Indian astronauts for India's first manned mission to space - Gaganyaan - has been halted in Russia due to lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus COVID-19 but the Indian astronauts are continuing their theory classes.
It is to be noted that four Indian astronauts are undergoing practical training at the Gagarin cosmonaut training centre in Moscow. The astronauts are currently staying at Star City in Russia. One exam on spaceship's onboard systems was passed by the astronauts in early April.
The Glavkosmos press service in a statement said, "The four Indian cosmonauts are in isolation due to coronavirus pandemic. They prepare for their exams at home."
Glavkosmos, which is a subsidiary of Russian space agency, Roscosmos which had signed a contract with India's Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO for the training of Indian astronauts.
The exam on theory of manned flights was due in April but the lockdown was announced in Russia from March 28th till April 30 to deal with the global COVID pandemic. The lockdown has been extended till May 11th.
By March end Indian astronauts completed one-quarter of the curriculum for a year of training. India is taking the help of Russia in gaganyaan because of the country's huge experience in terms of human space flight and sees the latter as a reliable long term partner with great experience in human space flight over the last 50 years.
The Rs 10,000 crore Gaganyaan project was announced by PM Modi during his Independence day speech on August 15th, 2018 and involves 3 members Indian crew being sent to space for a period of seven days. After this manned mission, India will become the 4th country after Russia, US and China to send humans in space.