Context: Four Indian trainee astronauts preparing for Gaganyaan - India’s first manned space mission - have completed their winter survival training programme as part of a year-long astronaut training course conducted by the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Russia.

Training includes

  • The training included survival techniques required in the event of the crew landing in a cold zone and was successfully overcome by representatives of the Indian Space Research Organisation. 
  • The programme involved theoretical and practical exercises on tactics of behaviour and actions after landing a descent vehicle in extreme conditions using equipment on board a spaceship as well as improvised material.
  • The trainees were also put through a two-day practical survival test by a team comprising instructors, doctors, psychologists and other specialists. 
  • The training programme involves looking for a safe place to organise a camp, building two types of shelters, conducting radio exchanges as per regulations, sending out fire signals, tending to injured persons and getting rescued by a helicopter.

The four pilots will return to India for mission-specific training after a year at the Gagarin Centre. Generic astronaut training is happening in Russia. Russian systems are different from that of the Gaganyaan. Mission-specific training will happen in India.


The Gaganyaan Mission

  • Under the Gaganyaan mission, three flights will be sent in orbit. Of the three, there will be two unmanned flights and one human spaceflight.
  • The human space flight programme, called the Orbital Module will have three Indian astronauts, including a woman.
  • It will circle Earth at a low-earth-orbit at an altitude of 300-400 km from earth for 5-7 days.
  • The payload will consist of:
    • Crew module - spacecraft carrying human beings.
    • Service module - powered by two liquid propellant engines.
  • It will be equipped with emergency escape and emergency mission abort.
  • GSLV Mk III, also called the LVM-3 (Launch Vehicle Mark-3) the three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle, will be used to launch Gaganyaan as it has the necessary payload capability.
  • The mission is expected to cost around Rs 10,000 crore.

Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC): 

  • India’s world-class facility for training astronauts will come up at Challakere, a shrubby, arid oilseeds town in Karnataka. 
  • It will be the single-stop facility consolidating infrastructure and activities related to space travellers.
  • It will be a self-contained facility, so that whatever training and activities India is now doing in Russia for the Gaganyaan crew can all be done here in future.