BENGALURU: Defence Food Research Laboratories (DFRL) will play a key role in providing food products for astronauts on Gaganyaan — the first human space programme by India. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which will implement the project, is already in talks with the Mysuru-based agency for the same.
DFRL, whose products were already part of Rakesh Sharma's menu on the space expedition aboard Russia's Soyuz T-11 in 1984, is confident that more of its products will be used by astronauts during the country's first indigenous space expedition scheduled for 2022.
A D Semwal, associate director and head, technology transfer division, DFRL, said ISRO had approached DFRL regarding the Gaganyaan scheme.
"DFRL scientists will give a presentation to ISRO on the products that are developed by DFRL. ISRO will have to assess the products and take a call on the products they would like to use," he said.
Currently, DFRL has food products that have a shelf life of 18 months, which can be extended up to 36 months. Semwal was speaking on the sidelines of an Army Training Command-sponsored Army Management Studies Board seminar on 'empowering field Army through food technology' at Army Service Corps (ASC) Centre and College.
Sources said Sharma had used mango bars developed by DFRL during his voyage in 1984. ISRO and DFRL have held three rounds of talks regarding the issue, sources added.
During the exhibition held as part of the seminar, various technologies developed by DFRL, Central Food Technological Research Institute and private firms were displayed. Among the recent innovations of DFRL were three varieties of medicine for sea-sickness — nutribite, fruit leather and ginger tamarind extract. Other products included ready-to-eat food, juices, preservatives and detection kits.