Indians in Space

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is looking for four people with the right stuff to be the country's first "vyomanauts" (Vyoma = 'space' or 'sky' in Sanskrit.). The pool of eligible applicants includes 200 Indian Air Force pilots. The agency expects to narrow the field to the four finalists by 2012. The new vyomanaut ASCANs will train in an ISRO astronaut training school in North Bangalore. Two of the four candidates selected will fly on India's first manned space mission in 2015. If the success of the Chandrayaan-1 lunar mission is any indication, ISRO may be ready to support its own human space program. Maybe one day they'll even go to Mars.  You can learn more about the selection and the mission here.

In 1984, Rakesh Sharma became India's first citizen in space as a cosmonaut on an 8-day mission to the Soviet Salyut 7 space station. His backup Ravish Malhotra trained for the mission too but never had the privilege of joining the 100 mile club. Nagapathi Bhat would have been the second Indian in space as a Payload Specialist on the STS-61I mission, but it was canceled in the wake of the Challenger disaster. His backup Paramaswaren Nair also never flew. Indians had to wait until 1997 to see their second countryman in space when Kalpana Chawla launched on the Columbia Space Shuttle.  She logged over 31 days in space on the STS-87 and STS-107 missions. Tragically, she lost her life in the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.


PillowNaut said…
Excellent post, and I've been going through all the links to the other articles. Hope we see some exciting milestones from India's program! I'm going to spread this news as well, and link back to you after reading further and mulling this over...

It's exciting to see a self-proclaimed "developing nation" reaching so high, as America once did. In comparison, I feel a bit of sadness that we take so much for granted now, comparatively speaking. But as we watch other space prorgams evolve, perhaps we can capture some of the awe and wonder from the early space race...
Norman Copeland said…
I'm sure the Indian's space travellers will have their sum's worked out on the rudiments of Indra and Vytra...
Unknown said…
How long we should wait for the 3rd mission ?????

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