MOSCOW, April 7. /TASS/. The training of India’s four prospective astronauts, who are getting prepared for the country’s first national manned space mission at a facility near Moscow, will resume no earlier than on April 30. That's according to a spokesperson for Glavkosmos, a subsidiary of Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos in charge of international projects.
Glavkosmos said the astronauts from India were in good health.
The source said that Russian President Vladimir Putin declared nationwide self-isolation in Russia on March 28, and, 'in this regard, self-isolation measures were strongly recommended for India’s prospective astronauts and for personnel of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Traning Center."
"The decision on whether to resume full-fledged training will be made following a careful study of the epidemiological situation in the country, but practical lessons will resume no earlier than April 30 or after a relevant decree [is issued]," the company said.
The four candidates "are in good health and under constant supervision of highly professional medical specialists," Glavkosmos said.
Their training schedule has not been disrupted by the current outbreak. The astronauts have already mastered one fourth of the entire course. They successfully passed a theoretical exam last week, and will have another one about a week later.
Earlier on Monday, India’s NDTV channel said the training of the four Indian candidates had been put on hold in Russia due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. The channel said, citing sources close to India’s space program, that the Russian facility where the prospective astronauts were being trained, had been temporarily closed due to the outbreak.
In August 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that his country would send its first national spacecraft and crew to the International Space Station (ISS) around 2022, when India will mark the 75th anniversary of independence. The mission was named Gaganyan, which means "sky vehicle" in Sanskrit. Prior to the manned spacecflight, India will hold two uncrewed launches of Gaganyan.
Four test pilots of the Indian Air Force, selected to crew the spacecraft, begun their training at the Yu.A Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Centre near Moscow in February.