Indian Astronauts to Complete Training at Russia’s Gagarin Center in Early 2021

Indian candidates for astronauts who are training at Russia’s Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center near Moscow for their orbital flight will wrap up their program in the first quarter of 2021, Glavcosmos (part of the Roscosmos space agency) announced on Thursday, TASS reported.

“The Indian cosmonauts are undergoing their training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in the elements of the general space program and the systems of the Soyuz MS crewed spacecraft. The completion of their training at the Gagarin Center is scheduled for the first quarter of 2021,” Glavcosmos said in a statement posted on its website.

Meanwhile, the four astronauts-elect for India’s first manned space mission Gaganyaan have completed training in Russia on crew actions in the event of an abnormal descent module landing, Glavkosmos added.

The astronauts were in good health and determined to continue their training.”To date, Indian cosmonauts have completed training on crew actions in the event of an abnormal descent module landing: in wooded and marshy areas in winter (completed in February 2020), on the water surface (completed in June 2020), in the steppe in summer (completed in July 2020),” Glavkosmos said.

In June 2020, they passed training in short-term weightlessness mode aboard the IL-76MDK special laboratory aircraft, and in July, they were trained to lift aboard a helicopter while evacuating from the descent module landing point, it said on its website.

The programme also included training in a centrifuge and in a hyperbaric chamber to prepare their organisms for sustaining spaceflight factors, such as G-force, hypoxia and pressure drops, it said, adding that these trainings are to be held in the near future. Four Indian Air Force fighter pilots are currently under training in Moscow and are likely to be potential candidates for Gaganyaan, initially planned around 2022.