India Begins Hunt for “Vyomanauts”

Mockup of India's human spacecraft (Credit: ISRO)
Mockup of India's human spacecraft (Credit: ISRO)

Indian Space Research Organisation hunt on for vyomanauts – desi astronauts

The hunt for India’s first astronauts — ‘vyomanauts’ in a desi tweak — has begun. Two of the four selected vyomanauts (vyoma means ‘space’ or ‘sky’ in Sanskrit) will finally go on India’s first manned space mission scheduled to lift off in 2015.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is laying down criteria for short-listing 200 Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter pilots, from whom four will be selected for the space mission, director-general of medical services, IAF, Air Marshal P Madhusoodanan told DNA.

While two vyomanauts will finally go on the space mission, the other two will remain in reserve.

The reason for choosing vyomanauts from the pool of IAF fighter pilots is that they are already trained to endure high gravity forces. This makes it easier to train them for space missions. “The module (for the selection) is being prepared at the moment,” he said. The run-up to the selection process speeded up after February 2009, when the Union government gave its nod to the Rs12,400-crore manned space flight.

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