Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 24 April 2024 3.36 PM IST

Why there is no woman in the Gaganyaan team; ISRO chairman responds


NEW DELHI: India's dream project Gaganyaan team has been announced by ISRO in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Group Captain Prashant Balakrishnan Nair, Group Captain Ajit Krishnan, Group Captain Angad Pratap and Wing Commander Subhanshu Shukla have been selected for the Gaganyaan mission. But many of them raised a question as to why there is no woman in this mission. ISRO Chairman S Somnath gives the answer.

"Women astronauts will reach space as part of ISRO missions in the future. Soon India will need mission specialists. There will be women as astronauts, but those selected and trained in Gaganyan's first missions will be considered," said S Somnath.

The reason why women were not included in the Gaganyaan team is explained by the way astronauts are selected. Astronauts for maiden missions around the world are selected from a pool of test pilots. India did not have a female test pilot when the selection process took place. Highly skilled pilots are selected as test pilots. Dr. Unnikrishnan Nair, director of VSSC, said that women will also be included in future missions. He said that there is no gender discrimination in ISRO and only skills are the criteria.

Gaganyaan project has been developed by ISRO in collaboration with Indian Air Force. Prashant and others are the four selected from those who have undergone primarily clinical test, aero medical test and psychological test. They were recommended by the National Crew Selection Board.

All four were trained at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia. The training in Russia was 13 months. Various phases of the space mission were practiced here. Expert training in parabolic flight, survival training in off nominal snow and desert-water landing. The training in Russia was followed by rigorous training at ISRO's Human Space Flight Center. Gaganyan prepared the team for the mission after training them in physical exercises, swimming and yoga.

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