Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel will be on board when India launches its first manned mission to space in 2017.
“Let me promise you one thing, if there is a (Indian) man on moon (read space), it will be from the Indian Air Force,” IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major told reporters here.
Sources said that the IAF is to train two of its personnel for the mission in association with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The proposed manned mission will be the country’s biggest success in the sphere following last year’s successful lunar probe launch.
Major sait that the IAF’s Institute for Aerospace Medicine is working closely with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on the project. The mission is likely to carry a two-member IAF crew.
It may be mentioned that India’s Squadron Leader Rakesh Sharma, who was part of the joint space programme between India and the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1984, was the first Indian to go into space.
Reports say that ISRO wanted one of its scientists on the mission along with an IAF pilot, but the air force proposed that both should be IAF personnel.
“The crew will consist of two members. We had a meeting with the ISRO scientists and they insisted on sending one scientist and one air force pilot, but we have proposed to depute one of our engineers also with them for training till the mission happens,” a senior IAF official said requesting not to be named.
Under the ambitious $2.5 billion plan, India’s space agency has proposed to put two people into space orbit at 274 km above the earth for seven days.