NEW DELHI, January 1. /TASS/. India has selected four astronauts to undergo training in Russia for the Gaganyaan mission. They will start training from the third week of January, Kailasavadivoo Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) told journalists on Wednesday.
"We had good progress on Gaganyaan in 2019, many of the designs were completed. Four astronauts have been identified for the training purpose. The training for the astronauts who are from the Indian Air Force will be planned in the third week of January which will take place in Russia," the Hindustan Times quoted him as saying.
He gave no further details about the astronauts, neither did he say whether the team included a woman.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said back in 2018 that the crew of India’s first national spaceship could include a "daughter of India."
India’s Minister of State Jitendra Singh, who is in charge of the nuclear and space sectors, said on December 31, 2018 that training of an Indian crew in Russia may take from 18 to 24 months depending on individual qualities.
On the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow in November 2019, Director General of Russia’s Glavcosmos (incorporated into the state space corporation Roscosmos) Dmitry Loskutov announced that a training course for Indian astronauts would begin at the Russian Cosmonaut Training Center in 2020.
Roscosmos said on July 1, 2019 that Glavcosmos and ISRO had signed a contract for consultancy support to the selections, medical examination and training of Indian astronauts.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in August 2018 that his country planned to send the first national crew by 2022 when the country would mark the 75th anniversary of independence. As of now, the flight is planned for 2021. It will be preceded by two unmanned launches.