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The Times of India: Indian astronauts finish 1/4th of Russia training; Clear key test last week; Next test in isolation

April 6, 2020

BENGALURU: The four Indian astronaut-elects training in Russia to be prepared for India’s first human spaceflight mission (Gaganyaan) are healthy and fit, Russian agencies training them told TOI.

Dmitry Loskutov, director general, Glavkosmos, which has an agreement with Isro for astronaut training, told TOI: “The four astronaut-elects are in good health. The highly professional medical experts of GCTC are constantly observing them.”

He added that beginning from March 26, Glavkosmos, a subsidiary of Russian space agency Roscosmos, has set up a Pandemic Response Group to prevent the risk of Covid-19 spread. This group’s tasks include monitoring the health status of employees and developing measures to limit the negative effect of the spread of coronavirus on the company's business activities.

On the training of the astronaut-elects, Loskutov said: “All Indian astronaut-elects continue working according to their training plan…The schedule of their training is met so far and they’ve completed approximately one fourth of the training programme.”

Last week, he said, the Indian astronauts successfully passed the exam on the knowledge of the onboard systems of Russian manned spacecraft. And, in a week, they are to take the exam in manned spacecraft flight theory.

The Russian authorities had introduced a lockdown for citizens from March 28 until the end of April to reduce the risks of the coronavirus spread over the country, and Glavkosmos said all precautions are being taken in line with these instructions.

On what the astronauts will do next, he said: “...Lockdown has strongly been recommended for the astronaut-elects, as well as for the GCTC personnel. It means the astronaut-elects are preparing for the exam independently.”

“The decision to resume the full-scale training will be taken after a thorough observation of the epidemic situation in the country, but the classes will not be resumed before April 30,” he added.