BENGALURU: The four Indian astronaut-elects, who are at present training in Moscow will have a rigorous schedule even after they return from Russia early next year and are likely to train in three different Indian cities.
While the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) in Bengaluru — which helped select the astronaut-elects as part of an agreement with Isro — will provide some training as reported earlier, TOI has now learnt that the four men are likely to train with Indian army’s Army Sports Institute (ASI) in Pune and navy’s Institute of Naval Medicine (INM), Mumbai.
A source in the know of the astronaut training plans said: “Other than IAM, the ASI and INM have now been roped in by Isro for training of the astronauts. While the former will look into physical fitness and provide rigorous routines, the latter is expected to train the astronaut-elects on dealing with microgravity using some of its under-water simulators and systems.”
Isro chairman K Sivan, while not elaborating on what the army and navy institutes will do, said their responsibility would be to provide “survival training” in different conditions.
“The training in Russia is generic and they (astronaut-elects) will be provided Gaganyaan-specific training upon their return. They will have to undergo medical training, psychological training, advanced training, and flight simulation training,” Sivan said.
Manual intervention and simulations
While the medical training will be a continuous process up to the time of launch, the psychological training will help manage stress in zero-gravity environments, work fatigue, etc.
The advanced training will involve familiarisation of Gaganyaan systems, including launch vehicles. This will mostly be theory that will help astronaut-elects understand various systems that will launch them into space and bring them back safely.
“After this, they will start the most important part of their training — flight simulation. Here, they will be taught how to use safety instruments, intervene manually to operate flight systems in case something goes wrong, how to take photographs of Earth and so on,” Sivan said.
Pointing out that while the men will undergo some survival training in Russia, Sivan said they will need to be trained on the same in Indian conditions. “This is where the army and navy come in,” he said.
Further, Isro is building new simulators that will provide advanced training to the astronaut-elects in Bengaluru. The crew and service simulators will be developed by Isro with the help of industries, which will allow astronauts to train on using onboard survival kits, operation of various systems such as orbital monitoring, Sivan said, adding that apart from all this, astronauts will have a regular schedule of aircraft flying to keep them active.
“So, the focus will be on physical and medical fitness, survival, advanced theory training and simulations. All the systems will be simulated so that they have confidence. They must be trained on various functions such as oxygen level monitoring and so on,” he added.
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