The Indian Air force has started looking for the 10 potential crew members for the country's first ever manned space mission codenamed Gaganyaan project. The final three astronauts among the ten shortlisted candidates will be chosen by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). ISRO Chairman K Sivan told The Times of India that the IAF will "screen and select 10 potential crew members for the country's first manned space mission in two months".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced India's ambitious first manned flight Gaganyaan before 2022. The mission aimed at sending a three-person crew to space for a period of seven days. The spacecraft will be placed in a low earth orbit of 300-400 km. The programme is expected to cost less than Rs 10,000 crore.
"We have an agreement with the IAF for crew training at Isro's Human Space Flight Centre in Bengaluru. IAF will screen around 10 crew members for the mission. This screening and selection will happen within one to two months. Isro will finally choose three members from these 10 crew members for the human spaceflight mission," the ISRO chief said.
This year in May, the Indian Air Force (IAF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for astronaut selection and training for ambitious Gaganyaan Programme, scheduled for 2022. Moreover, the first meeting of the national advisory council (NAC) was also convened which witnessed the participation of all organisations and institutes involved in the Gaganyaan project participated. Taking another lead forward, ISRO also tested CE-20 engine, meant for the upper stage of human-rated GSLV MK-III, the engine which will take the Indian astronauts to space.
Sivan further added "In the NAC meet on June 8, Air Vice-Marshal R G K Kapoor, assistant chief of air staff operations (space), Rear Admiral DS Gujral, assistant chief of naval staff, Defence Research and Development Organisation director G Satheesh Reddy, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited chairman and managing director R Madhavan and veterans of different institutes attended the meeting. All these agencies will play crucial roles in the mission. While the IAF will handle crew selection and training, DRDO will provide the life support system for crew and Navy will help in recovering the human capsule once it re-enters the atmosphere and splashes down in the sea."