Gaganyaan mission: Recruiters prefer astronauts with sound dental, emotional fitness for final selection

The Russians are particularly sensitive about astronauts having faultless dental health, probably because of certain bad experiences their cosmonauts may have had while on space missions.

Published: 15th November 2019 03:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th November 2019 10:02 AM   |  A+A-

space, cosmos

For representational purposes

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Healthy teeth and emotional well-being are two of the most crucial attributes being looked for by Russians who, along with the Indian Air Force medical team from the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM), are involved in selecting the final batch of astronauts for India’s first manned space mission Gaganyaan, scheduled to be launched any time between 2021-end and October 2022.

The Russians are particularly sensitive about astronauts having faultless dental health, probably because of certain bad experiences their cosmonauts may have had while on space missions, according to an IAM official involved in the astronaut selection process.

A senior classified aviation specialist from IAM said that good dental health is an absolute necessity for the candidate to make it through rigorous tests to be held in Russia.

ALSO READ| Screening process for selection of crew for Gaganyaan being done professionally: IAF chief

He and four other IAM officials involved in the selections said that emotional fitness is also significant, considering that the astronauts would be exposed to an isolated environment inside the spacecraft, for about six days in a low-earth orbit.

The selection process is extremely gruelling for Indian candidates, all of whom are test pilots from the Indian Air Force. The candidates are required to sign up for four major tests, ranging from a 5km-long run, 2,000-plus questions and tests designed by psychologists, to clinical assessments and dentistry, a senior IAM official, Group Captain (Dr) MS Nataraja said.

IAM commandant Air Commodore Anupam Agarwal (VSM) pointed to humans being the most challenging aspect to the mission as they “introduce a level of uncertainty to everything”.

ALSO READ| Doctors in Indian Air Force await nod to get fighter pilot wings

The Gaganyaan candidates are in level two of the four-level selection process. The first level pertains to the candidate’s personal information and physical fitness; the second is about medical and psychological screening tests; third, advanced medical, aeromedical and psychological tests under stressful conditions; and fourth is about screening at IAM, ISRO, foreign facility, basic training, advanced training and mission-specific training.

While the first three levels are for selection, the final one is for training. The IAM is tasked with preparing 12 astronaut candidates out of a batch of pre-selected 24 test pilots in medical category A1G1 -- fully fit test pilots.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp