PM Modi Discloses the Identities of Four Astronauts Selected for Gaganyaan Mission

PM Modi Discloses the Identities of Four Astronauts Selected for Gaganyaan Mission
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the identities of the four astronauts slated to embark on a journey to low-Earth orbit as part of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Gaganyaan mission, marking India’s inaugural crewed space endeavor. The announcement took place during the Prime Minister’s visit to the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The selected astronauts—Prashanth Balakrishnan Nair, (Group Captain) Angad Prathap, Ajit Krishnan, and Shubanshu Shukla—are all distinguished wing commanders or group captains in the Indian Air Force (IAF), boasting extensive experience as test pilots, thus equipped to swiftly respond to any exigency. Their training regimen is currently underway at ISRO’s astronaut training facility in Bengaluru, with the astronaut selection process conducted at the IAF’s Institute of Aerospace Medicine.

In June 2019, ISRO and Glavkosmos, a subsidiary of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, entered into a memorandum of understanding to facilitate the training of four astronauts. From February 2020 to March 2021, these astronauts underwent training at Russia’s Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre.

Additionally, during a visit to Delhi in 2023, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced that NASA would also train an Indian astronaut for a mission to the International Space Station by the end of 2024. The Indian Express reported at the time that the selection process would likely involve choosing from among the four individuals preparing for the Gaganyaan mission.

The Gaganyaan mission aims to showcase India’s prowess in human spaceflight by sending astronauts on a three-day mission to an orbit 400 kilometers above the Earth. Subsequently, they will be safely returned to Earth via a landing in the waters of the Indian Ocean.

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