- IAF pilots underwent medical tests and will train in Russia
- K Sivan did not reveal the identity of the pilots
- On Gaganyaan mission, K Sivan said they are trying for the end of this year
Four Indian Air Force pilots have been selected for space training as part of India’s first-ever manned mission, due to take place by mid-2022, said today at NDTV the Indian Space Research Organization or ISRO Chief K Sivan. The pilots have already undergone medical tests in India and Russia, and will now receive training there, Sivan said, adding that the design phase of the manned mission has been completed.
Mr. Sivan, however, did not disclose the identity of the pilots he said were chosen because they were healthy and fit. The ISRO chief also said he had a longer list of candidates and would discuss if there was a problem with the top four.
Speaking about the unmanned Gaganyaan mission, Mr Sivan said ISRO is trying to launch it by the end of this year or early 2021. “We are aiming for the launch for this year, but it could reverberate over next year, “he said.
For the Chandrayaan 3 mission, the head of ISRO said the existing orbiter will be used and a new launch site has been selected. The country’s space program will attempt the mission after Chandrayaan 2’s Vikram lander crashed on the moon in September last year.
Dr Sivan ended the conversation with the famous hug from Prime Minister Narendra Modi after losing communication with the lander “Vikram”.
“It was a great relief when the Prime Minister gave me a hug,” Sivan said, adding that the hug had taught him many lessons. Claiming that Prime Minister Modi understood what was going on in his head, Sivan said “it was a good thing” that the Prime Minister had consoled him.
India is seeking to become only the fourth nation after Russia, the United States and China to put a mission on the surface of the moon and strengthen its credentials as a low-cost space power.