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SOURCE: IANS

In a bid to democratise space, US-based Space Exploration and Research Agency (SERA) and Blue Origin on Monday announced India as a partner nation in their human spaceflight programme.SERA will offer citizens from India a seat on Blue Origin’s future mission of reusable rocket New Shepard on an 11-minute journey past the Karman line (100 km), the internationally-recognised boundary of space.

Indian citizens will be part of the six seats that together SERA and Blue Origin aim to offer to people from countries that have sent few or no citizen astronauts to space.

The astronauts will experience several minutes of weightlessness before making a controlled descent back to the landing pad.

“We’re excited to have India as part of our human spaceflight programme,” said Joshua Skurla, Co-Founder, of SERA.

While lauding India for “becoming the first country to reach the Moon’s South Pole”, he said the company aims “to make space accessible for everyone and is happy to offer this unique opportunity to an Indian citizen who wants to experience the wonders of space travel.”

Any Indian citizen can register for the programme by paying a fee of about $2.50 to cover the costs of verification checks that ensure safe and fair voting.

The final candidates will be voted for by the public — based on their story which they can promote via their mission profile pages, social media, and other resources — for an opportunity to fly to space onboard the New Shepard mission.

The potential astronauts will be required to meet Blue Origin’s physical requirements.

The final crew of six will arrive three days before the flight for training at Blue Origin’s launch site in West Texas.