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Interfax-Military News Agency: Russian specialists visited India to select candidates for astronauts Director General of Glavkosmos

October 24, 2019

Washington. October 24. INTERFAX - Specialists of Russian Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Center (GCPC) visited India as part of the contract on the preparation of astronauts from this country for the flight on an Indian manned spacecraft, Director General of Glavkosmos Dmitry Loskutov told Interfax.

"This summer we signed a contract for the selection, medical examination and preparation of Indian Gaganauts. This work is beginning and our experts have already been to India and carried out preliminary activities,” Loskutov said on the sidelines of the International aeronautical Congress, held in the US capital.

Earlier, Executive Director for Manned Space Programs of Roscosmos Sergei Krikalev said that the specialists of the Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Center started selecting candidates for astronauts from India for this country’s manned spaceflight.

“The selection is already underway, a team that will continue to work in Cosmonaut Training Center is being formed," Krikalev said on October 4.

Asked when the candidates would arrive for training at GCPC, he said "Before the end of the year."

Executive Director for Manned Space Programs of Roscosmos noted that India has very serious plans for the exploration of outer space.

“They will build their spacecraft, but they ask for help, including in training their astronauts for the flight aboard their spacecraft. There were negotiations on this matter and several people had to be selected to begin training, but I understand that in the first cycle of selection they selected less than they wanted,” Krikalev said.

He also said that in the future Roscosmos might hold talks with India on training of specialists for work in space.

"It is possible, but so far there have been no serious conversations on this, it is a matter of negotiations," Krikalev said.

Earlier, Loskutov said in an interview with Interfax that Russian experts could assist in the development of India's manned space program.

“I am sure that we cannot do without international cooperation in the field of further space exploration. India's manned space program is one of the examples. At the moment, the participation of Russian specialists in the project in the development of manned spacecraft systems and training of Indian cosmonauts (Gaganauts) is being discussed,” he said on June 18.

Glavkosmos, a subsidiary of Roscosmos, is the operator of the State Corporation's foreign economic activities.

The first Indian citizen to go to space was Rakesh Sharma, who flew on the Soviet Soyuz-T11 spacecraft for an eight-day mission in April 1984.

(Translation by the Press Office of Glavkosmos, JSC)