The Indian Space Research Organisation has recently had a discussion with representatives from various armed forces in the country to select astronauts. “The process (of selecting astronauts) is already on and an announcement for selection will be made soon,” said K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO, here on Monday.

He was speaking at the inaugural of a two-day international seminar on “Emerging Frontiers in Aerospace Technology”, organised by Defence Research and Development Organisation ahead of Aero India 2019. Taking a dig at critics, he said that ISRO was capable of completing Gaganyaan by the scheduled deadline of 2021. “The speciality of Gaganyaan is that it has to be completed in 40 months. Many, even people from aerospace sector, are doubting whether we can achieve it. 

If Russia can send a man to space in just four years in 1957, why can’t we send now in 40 months?” he questioned. The project, he said, will have a major impact on international cooperation as agreements have to be made between nations to complete the mission.

Small satellites

Sivan said that there was a ‘mad rush’ for developing small satellite launch vehicles. An average of 6,000 odd small satellites will be launched annually. Considering these demands, ISRO has developed a Small Satellite Launch Vehicle, which will be tested in mid-2019, he said.

G Satheesh Reddy, Chairman of Defence Research and Development Organisation, said that there has been a big leap in the number of industries developing unmanned aerial vehicles.

“We will have to come up with a road map for collaborations in these sectors to produce state-of-the-art systems,” he said.