Russia may take an Indian astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) on board a Soyuz spacecraft for a short training mission in 2022, a Russian space industry source as quoted by a Russian media report.
"The Russian side has offered Indian colleagues to conduct a short visit to the ISS. The flight should take place in 2022 before or after India's independent manned space mission. The agreement is expected to be signed in the near future," state-run Russian news agency Sputnik quoted the source as saying.
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The International Space Station is a habitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech announced an ambitious mission of sending an Indian astronaut to space by 2022 on board domestically-developed 'Gaganyaan', when India celebrates the 75th anniversary of independence.
Russia may also train Indian astronauts at a space training centre near Moscow before they fly India’s first manned mission Gaganyaan in 2022, widening in the process the four-decade-old partnership in the space sector, according to report published in Economic Times.
Expanding the scope of Indo-Russian space cooperation, including training of Indian astronauts, will be high on the agenda when Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets President Vladimir Putin in Delhi on Friday for the annual bilateral summit, said people aware of the matter, Indian astronauts could be trained at the Star City near Moscow which has since 1960s been home to Russian cosmonauts. Many Russian cosmonauts, past and present, train and stay with their families in this facility, which is run by Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, it added.
India would be the fourth nation to send a human in space after the US, Russia and China if all goes by plans.
Indian Air Force pilot, Rakesh Sharma was the first Indian to travel to space. Sharma was a part of the Soviet Union's Soyuz T-11 expedition, launched on April 2, 1984, as part of the Intercosmos programme.
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