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SOURCE: ANI

For India’s first manned mission to space- the Gaganyaan space mission, with the air force getting ready to identify a number of ace pilots to undergo a number of tests, including psychological assessments, the astronauts will be chosen this year.

While a formal request for astronauts is pending, the IAF is in contact with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the selection will be completed by the end of this year. The mission has an ambitious launch date of early 2022 – before India celebrates its 75th Independence Day – preparing for a tight schedule to identify and train the first set of astronauts.

It will also have a woman astronaut that would be selected from among the military pilots in India. The IAF has recently introduced women fighter pilots to be considered for the project with a pool of experienced women pilots who can fly transport aircrafts and choppers. “The first mission will have trained pilots but in the future, it has to be decided what kind of crew is required, depending on the mission. In other countries, scientists and specialised personnel are also sent to space,” the officer said.

While other nations including Russia have promised to train Indian crew for the mission, efforts will be initiated to put Indian system to select and train the personnel for which IAF’s Institute of Aerospace Medicine will play a crucial role with use of simulators and the human centrifuge system.