Indian Air Force to be involved in selection of astronauts for space mission

Bengaluru:  Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa Friday said IAF would be involved in the selection process to send humans on a space mission and expressed confidence of meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2022 deadline for the exercise.

“The Institute of Aerospace Medicine was actively involved in selection of astronauts earlier. We will be involved now. I am sure we will be able to do it in a very short notice,” he said at an event here.

The Air Chief Marshal said this in his inaugural speech at the three-day 57th Annual Conference of Indian Society of Aerospace Medicine (ISAM) at IAM here.

Dhanoa also said that an Aerospace Medicine specialist is the best friend of the air crew in the field.

Modi, in his Independence Day address, had said an Indian astronaut would go on a space odyssey by 2022 on board Gaganyaan.

Speaking on the same issue, IAM Commandant Air Commodore Anupam Agarwal said they would require 12 to 14 months to select astronauts.

He also said that it would be a great challenge for IAM to prepare astronauts for space travel.

Agarwal said even the slightest of difference in physiological and psychological issues of astronauts travelling in a space capsule would lead to isolation issues.

“Even small issues like an astronaut picking his nose can lead to problems. Therefore even small nuances must be taken care of,” he said.

Agarwal also said India would be the first country to send humans, instead of animals, as part of the first mission to return with knowledge from space.

“Other countries sent animals into the space that brought back some learning,” he added.