The training of four astronauts for India’s ambitious Gaganyaan project has reportedly been put on hold due to the temporary closure of the facility in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. The four astronauts have been undergoing training at the Yu.A. Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Centre near Moscow.
According to media reports, the astronauts are currently lodged in the hostel and the training facility could reopen by the end of the month. Reports suggest that the four weeks of halt can be managed since a buffer period of three months was already in place in case of exigencies.
The four astronauts, shortlisted for the mission, will go under intense training for 11 months at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in the Star City of Moscow Oblast to prepare for the space mission. All the four astronauts selected for the mission are men but their identity cannot be revealed, Union Minister of State (MoS) Jitendra Singh had earlier said.
After training in Russia, the astronauts will be prepared for the space mission back in India in the remaining months. They will be trained in crew and service module designed by ISRO and will learn to operate it, work around it and do simulations. India's heaviest launch vehicle "Bahubali" GSLV Mark-III is touted to carry astronauts to space.
The Rs 10,000-crore ambitious manned mission is expected to be launched in 2022, the year of the 75th anniversary of India's Independence. The Defence Food Research Laboratory in Mysore has prepared special food packets for astronauts taking part in India's upcoming space mission.
The astronauts will be provided food heater and special containers will help astronauts drink liquids in zero gravity. The food items include South Indian cuisines such as Idli-sambhar, upma, coconut chutney and much more. Before sending a crew into space, ISRO plans to send two unmanned missions into the orbit - first one in 2020 and the second one in 2021.
(With PTI inputs)