4 Oct 2019 12:47

Indian candidates to arrive at Cosmonaut Training Center by yearend - Roscosmos

DUBAI. Oct 4 (Interfax) - Specialists of the Russian Cosmonaut Training Center are choosing Indian candidates for a mission to be performed on board an Indian spaceship, Roscosmos Executive Director for Manned Programs Sergei Krikalyov said.

"Selection is in progress, and a team, which will be working at the Cosmonaut Training Center, is being formed," Krikalyov said.

He said the candidates would be arriving at the Cosmonaut Training Center "by the end of this year."

India is very serious about space exploration, Krikalyov said.

"They will build their own spaceship, yet they have asked us for help, including for training the crew of their spaceship. We had talks, and several people were supposed to be designated and start training. Yet I understand that fewer people were chosen at the initial stage than planned," he said.

In the future, Roscosmos and India might discuss the training of specialists who will be preparing astronauts for their missions, Krikalyov said.

"This is possible, but we have not had any meaningful talks on the issue so far," Krikalyov said.

Glavkosmos General Director Dmitry Loskutov told Interfax earlier that Russian specialists could help India develop a national program of manned space flights.

"I have no doubt that international cooperation is essential to further space exploration. India's program of manned space flights is a good example. Participation of Russian specialists in the development of manned spaceship systems and the training of Indian astronauts (gaganauts) is being discussed," Loskutov said on June 18.

Glavkosmos, a subsidiary of Roscosmos, is a foreign economic operator of the state corporation.

The first Indian citizen who went on a space mission was Rakesh Sharma. He was a crewmember of the Soviet spaceship Soyuz-T11 and spent eight days in space in April 1984.