Russia to help India with its first manned space mission, may train astronauts abroad the ISS

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  • During the bilateral dialogue between Russia and India earlier today, nodal space agencies from both countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
  • The agreement indicates that potential candidates for India’s manned space will be invited to train at ROSCOSMOS in Russia.
  • The previous agreement between the ISRO and ROSCOSMOS in 2015 expanded the bilateral cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.
India has planned its first human spaceflight programme, Gaganyaan, for 2022 but it may not have to go at it alone. During the bilateral dialogue between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladamir Putin, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the country’s nodal space agencies on the manned space mission.

The agreement between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Russia’s federal space agency, ROSCOSMOS, states that the potential candidates for the mission will have to pass a training course in Russia. Once chosen, their subsequent training could include a trip to the International Space Station (ISS).

In addition, India’s endogenous navigation system, meant to emulate GPS or the Russian GLONASS, is going to be built in the Russian city of Novosibirsk in Siberia.

Not the first time

India-Russia cooperation in the realm of space exploration isn’t a new phenomenon. India’s lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, scheduled for January after many delays will be using Russian isotope products.

ROSCOSMOS and ISRO signed another MoU back in 2015 on expanding cooperation between the two countries on exploring and using outer space for peaceful purposes. The bilateral agreement opened up collaboration on a number of new fronts like satellite navigation, remote sensing of the Earth, exchange of scientists, and launch vehicle development among others.

Experts surmise that space exploration is one of the key pillars of the strategic relationship between the two nations. In fact, the first Indian to have ever been to Space, Rakesh Sharma of the Indian Air Force, got there on onboard the Russian Soyuz T-11 back in 1984.

Even the first two Indian satellites, Aryabhata and Bhaskar, were launched into orbit from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the former Soviet Union.
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