ISRO looking for international collaboration to help train astronauts for Gaganyaan

 India is looking at international collaboration to train its astronauts for the human space programme (HSP), according to S Somanath, Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC).

Published: 16th September 2018 04:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th September 2018 04:23 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: India is looking at international collaboration to train its astronauts for the human space programme (HSP), according to S Somanath, Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). While facilities exist for basic and some advanced training for astronauts, the collaboration will be essential for technologies such as zero-G environment creation, parabolic flights and space simulation chambers among others.

He was speaking on HSP at Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) during the 57th annual conference of Indian Society of Aerospace Medicine. “The type of training required for astronauts to handle mission-critical issues are going to be similar to the ones experienced in the past (by experts at IAM). Reasonably good awareness exists in IAM to develop protocols to train the astronauts to handle such situations,” he said. 

But for specialist training requirements of astronauts — a long-term requirement to sustain human space flight — India is looking at collaboration. “International collaboration will be required to understand zero-G environment creation, parabolic flights, space simulation chambers and others, along with the experience of experts,” he said.

Long-term vision
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), he said, is working on a long-term vision. “We need to create and sustain the HSP. We are confident about our rockets, which have to be upgraded,” he said.
Ahead of the first manned mission to space, multiple tests on crew escape system and other technologies will be carried out. He said that by the time of the launch, launch complex facility will be developed and added that they were looking to augment the existing facilities in the country.Among the essential modules yet to be developed by ISRO included habitat and transport modules. However, VSSC has developed proto-modules of environmental control and life support systems, he added. 

Indian processor to detect malfunction in Gaganyaan
For the Gaganyaan mission, ISRO will deploy the indigenous microprocessor developed in India - Vikram - to run an algorithm to detect any malfunctions during Gaganyaan launch. Somanath said they are developing the algorithm for the emergency detection system. The system will ensure that the mission can be aborted at any period of crisis - especially during launch. The objective is to abort the mission without causing any harm to astronauts on board, he added.

Aerospace expert bats for NASA-like space body

Bengaluru: Following India’s decision to send humans to space, a new professional body along the lines of the USA’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) or China’s Chinese National Space Agency (CNSA) should be formed to ensure a long-term space programme and take the burden off ISRO, according to Air Vice Marshal (retd) Pankaj Tyagi.  

Moreover, the Indian Air Force (IAF) must create a civil wing to cover space operations ahead of an ‘Operational Squadron of Astronauts’, he said. Delivering the AVM Srinagesh Memorial Oration on ‘Indian Space Programme: Past, Present and Future’ at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) on Saturday, he said, “A new professional body like the Indian National Aeronautics and Space Adminstration (INASA), similar to say the European Space Agency or NASA or CNSA, will be required.”

“ISRO should not be burdened with this additional administrative and management responsibilities, lest their manpower resources de-focus from the excellent technical work that they have been engaged in for the past many years,” he added. Owing to recent developments, the Space Commission should also upgrade quickly and a mini advisory body has to be set up within it for issues such as space medicine and others, the former commandant at IAM said.

The Commission, he said, needs to quickly upgrade the resources available at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine while the IAF has to dedicate a minimum workforce to achieve required levels of competence for Gaganyaan. Developing a crew module must be the first target to be achieved. ISRO is also in the process of integrating life-critical technologies to its crew modules, he added.

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