Today astronauts are from IAF, tomorrow research scientists too would don the role: ISRO chief

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Nagpur: The country’s astronauts at present are from the Indian Air Force but very soon research scientists would also don this role when the human space programme will begin running in a continuous manner, Indian Space Research Organisation chairperson S Somanath said on Thursday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, on February 27, revealed the names of the four astronauts who are currently training for India’s first-ever human space flight mission ‘Gaganyaan’.

The four, Group Captains Prasanth Nair, Angad Pratap, Ajit Krishnan and Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla are from the IAF.

Answering a query on qualifications to become an astronaut, Somanath said, “Today, astronauts are coming from the Indian Air Force and they are pilots. Tomorrow, when we will start out human space programme in a continuous manner, we will require research scientists etc.”

“You can become scientific specialist to go on board (a spacecraft) and become an astronaut. We are starting a space station. You can become an astronaut to do specific things. You can become biology scientist and become space astronaut. Become a physicist, do experiments and become space scientist,” he added.

Somanath was addressing the valedictory function of ‘Space on Wheels’ organised by Vigyan Bharti Vidarbha Pradesh Mandal in association with ISRO.

Hailing the success of the Chandrayaan-3 project, Somanath said India was embracing technology as an important element in its ascend to world leadership.

Space technology is India’s torchbearer, Somanath, said, adding the country was working towards sending a man to moon by 2040.

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