Covid-19 slows down India's space race

The training in Russia of the four Indian Air Force pilots for the first human space mission of India has reportedly been put off due to the closure by Covid-19. The space mission, called Gaganyaan, would be launched in 2022 from India into a low Earth orbit in space. Indian pilots were to return by the end of the year and continue specific training in India. All this was postponed now, the Financial Express newspaper reported.

Russia's Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, located in Star City about 30 kilometers from Moscow, has been in operation for more than 50 years. Crew training and testing of Gaganyaan systems are two of the most critical activities listed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) this year, according to ISRO President Kailasavadivoo Sivan in early 2020.

ISRO's Human Space Flight Center is involved from mission planning, systems engineering for human survival in space, to the crew selection and training stage.

Currently, ISRO scientists work from home via video conferencing. However, some specialists work on projects following Covid-19's strict social distancing protocols.

ISRO had planned to launch s some important missions next year, with Gagaanyan-1 as a target by the end of that year. The solar ships Aditya and Chandrayaan-3 were also major missions scheduled for 2021. mh/abo/agp/abm
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