First Phase Selection of GAGANYATRIS Completed

First Phase Selection of GAGANYATRIS Completed


First Phase Selection of GAGANYATRIS Completed

The first phase of Indian GAGANYATRIS selection for India’s proposed manned mission — Gaganyaan — has been completed in Bangalore. India will be sending a manned mission to space in 2022. The selection was done at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) here, an institute of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

“IAF completed Level-1 of astronaut selection at IAM. Selected Test Pilots underwent extensive physical exercise tests, lab investigations, radiological tests, clinical tests & evaluation on various facets of their psychology,” the IAF said on Friday.

It had been reported earlier that like Russia, USA and China, even India’s first set of astronauts will be IAF test pilots and that they are likely to all be under the age of 40 years. The report also pointed out that there would be no female pilots as they have been cleared for fighter stream only recently and hence there are no test pilots among them.

Although ISRO was initially proposing at all probable candidates for the first mission, in such missions IAF will have a greater say in the formative years till all our systems become very routine.

“…For the first mission (Ganganyaan) the entire crew will be test-pilots. Isro and IAF have agreed upon this,” another senior official part of the Gaganyaan planning team, said.

“Globally, 60% of all astronauts have been tests pilots. Regarding female Gaganyatris there can be no drastic decisions as there are no female test pilots presently. Therefore India is not going to send a woman in the first human spaceflight mission . This is plain common sense.

Why Test Pilots?

“It’s quite straight forward because space technology is essentially extension aviation. And test pilots, by virtue of their specialisations, have always been called upon to study deeply all that can probably go wrong in something that has not been tried before. That gives them the edge as they are experienced in preparing themselves better. Also, in case things do not go as per planned, their specialisation and experience kicks-in and helps them analyse the situation. This makes them the natural choice,” said Rakesh Sharma

Test pilots are both physiologically and psychologically trained to adapt to situations that a space flight demands.

For the Gaganyaan program the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) has selected a pool of 30 astronauts—keeping in mind future human spaceflight missions—of which three sets of three astronauts each will be shortlisted for the first mission in 2022. Finally, three of them will go to space.

Will Space Suits Come From Russia?

Further, India has officially signed an agreement with Russia for the advanced training of astronauts that are finally picked.

Most recently, Russia even indicated that the Indian mission may even use Russian space suits.

In a statement issued from Moscow, Russian space agency ROSCOSMOS, said: “…Russia and India are expecting to negotiate the contracts to supply windows, crew seats and spacesuits for the Indian crewed mission.”

While India and Russia are co-operating on these fronts France has also offered cooperation, especially in the field of training flight surgeons.