Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Indian Astronaut Candidates Start Training in Russia

The Indian pilots are expected to go into orbit on board the three-person Gaganyaan spacecraft sometime in late 2021 or mid-2022. Alexander Shcherbak / TASS

Four aspiring astronauts from India have embarked on a 12-month training program in Russia, Russia’s space launch service provider announced Monday.

They are expected to go into orbit on board the three-person Gaganyaan spacecraft sometime in late 2021 or mid-2022. The mission — which is set to be India's first manned space flight — was estimated to cost $1.4 billion in 2018, when the four pilots were picked out from the Indian air force.

The four Indian pilots will undergo “comprehensive and biomedical training” at Russia's main space training center in Zvyozdny Gorodok ("Star City") outside Moscow, said Glavkosmos, a subsidiary of Russia’s Federal Space Agency.

“[T]hey will study in detail the systems of the Soyuz manned spaceship, [and be] trained in short-term weightlessness aboard the special Il-76MDK aircraft,” Glavkosmos said. 

The Il-76MDK is a zero-gravity airlifter for trainee astronauts and space tourists.

“The Indian pilots will also be trained to act correctly in case of abnormal landing of the manned spaceship descent module in various climate and geographic zones,” it added.

At least one of the four pilots will stay behind on Earth when the Gaganyaan launches.

Gaganyaan and other space missions come as India looks to become a low-cost space power. The country’s unmanned Mars mission in 2014 cost $74 million, less than the budget of Hollywood space blockbuster “Gravity.”

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more